Written by: Featured News

K.I.S.H. Magazine Exclusive Interview with Ashley Gooden-Stewart!

Tell us about you..

Ashley: I am from La Marque, TX and a Lamar University graduate. I wear several hats: wife, mother, philanthropist, Grief Coach, Community Health Worker, Mental Health First Aider, authoress, entrepreneur, and advocate. Since I was a child, I always had a big capacity to care about others and serving vulnerable communities. I’ve always been a voice for the voiceless and ensuring everyone is seen and heard. After the loss of my infant son CJ Stewart, I found myself depressed. I didn’t want to let darkness win and I knew this was not the end of my story. I founded a nonprofit organization, Baby Stewart Foundation to commemorate my son. Our mission is to help families in need to baby necessities, basic hygiene needs, car seat safety, school supplies, disaster relief and bereavement support. Our organization is 100% mobile, and we distribute supplies directly to our clients.

KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?

Ashley: My dream is to have a building for Baby Stewart Foundation and provide classes, workshops, and afterschool programs. We will still provide mobile services to families faced with transportation barriers. I would like Baby Stewart Foundation to be setup in every state and International. Having our organization physically in every state and country will benefit families faced with diaper disparity, hygiene poverty, and without adequate resources and supplies. It will provide everyone with dignity and free access to their basic needs.

KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?

Ashley: Being underemployed and faced with poverty while high risk pregnant inspired me to pursue this dream. During hard times, I reached out to several organizations and churches to provide me with baby items and maternity clothes. I called 2-1-1 to connect me with local social services in my area. Many people in need were not aware of the services I utilized. I knew I could not pay these organizations back and I decided to pay it forward. I never wanted families to face the hardships I faced. Being resourceful and supportive to people in their time of need is what keeps my organization going.

KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?

Ashley: At the start of the pandemic, several organizations closed their doors indefinitely. We were partnered with majority of those organizations. Some of our biggest donors passed away too. All of these losses took a toll on our organization and how we ran things. Our inventory runs low and at times, we cannot fulfill our mission to help others. Self-funding helps but it’s not enough. It’s difficult when the needs are increasing, and the supplies are limited. We need grants and funding to successfully run our organization.

KISH: Who or what inspired you to keep pushing regardless of the challenges you’ve encountered?

Ashley: The memory of my son CJ helps me to persevere when my back is against the wall and I’m up against all odds. My child was filled with so much joy while he was on earth. I know he wouldn’t want me to give up due to minor setbacks and failure. Each day, I dedicate my life to him and serving others. Because of CJ, I remain optimistic, and I continue to dream big no matter how far-fetched my dreams may be. My other children keep me focused and grounded. They are alongside of me at outreach events, health fairs, and speaking enragements. They cheer me on and truly believe in me. Building this legacy for my children is why I cannot give up.

KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence… dream.

Ashley: Always dream big! It doesn’t matter if your dreams seem impossible, people doubt you, or your dreams do not match your bank account or budget, continue to dream. Dream big and then turn your dreams into reality.

Last modified: February 20, 2024