Art has an incredible power to lift spirits and brighten outlooks, and Ashlyn Orchard, an East Dallas teenager, has always enjoyed bringing beautiful art to life. The generous teenager recently found a way to use that gift to uplift others as she works toward becoming one of the first female Eagle Scouts from Troop 890 in Lake Highlands.
On Friday, October 16, Ashlyn presented and helped install a mural of canvases for Mommies In Need, a Dallas-based non-profit organization. The art hangs in Annie’s Place, a new drop-in childcare center that the non-profit will open in November on the campus of Parkland Hospital to provide children of parents battling a health crisis safe, loving childcare from specially-trained teachers and staff, at no cost to the families. When parents and children walk into the facility dedicated to offering childcare, community and compassion, they will be greeted by this colorful reminder that people out there truly care.
“I hope to be able to connect with people through my art, and hopefully give something to them that is enjoyable,” Ashlyn said.
Ashlyn led a team of a dozen volunteers in creating the art as part of the process toward achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. An 18-year-old high school student at Connection Academy and a member of Troop 890 in Lake Highlands, Ashlyn is a driven young lady whose goal is to help others and spread cheer through art. Since 2019, when Boy Scouts of America began admitting females into its traditional program and adopted the new name Scouts BSA, Ashlyn moved quickly to complete the qualifications, and is now on track to becoming one of the first female Eagle Scouts in North Texas.
“Ashlyn is a motivated, driven young lady who could have chosen any place to benefit with her time and talent, so it says everything that she chose to give to an organization that supports families battling a health crisis,” Natalie Boyle, founder and CEO of Mommies In Need, said. “We are so grateful for her support and for gifting our staff and parents with a piece of art that comes from the heart and will surely bring many smiles to our children’s faces.”
Ashlyn was introduced to the work of Mommies In Need through her own mother, Amy, who has volunteered for the organization. Ashlyn learned of Mommies In Need’s plan to open its own childcare center, and asked if there was a need for art. Putting her leadership skills to work, Ashlyn guided a group of fellow Scouts and teens in helping paint the canvases of colorful scenes that bring a sense of comfort to the space. Ashlyn’s artwork comprises 11 canvases, each measuring 20”x20” and depicting scenes of neighborhoods and the outdoors painted lovingly by hand.
Troop 890 in Lake Highlands, where Ashlyn is a member, has awarded 542 boys the rank of Eagle Scout since the troop started in 1961. In February of 2019, Troop 890 added its first girls’ troop to its ranks, and is looking forward to its first female members earning the rank of Eagle Scout. The first girls to become eligible for Eagle Scout, including Ashlyn, have done an incredible amount of work in a relatively short period of time to complete the criteria needed. Ashlyn has two older brothers in Troop 861 in East Dallas who also have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.
Mommies In Need allows parents who are experiencing a health crisis to focus on getting well, knowing that their children are receiving safe, loving care from specially-trained nannies. This fall, that care expands with the opening of Annie’s Place, a first-of-its kind facility that will provide complimentary childcare while parents receive necessary medical treatments like chemotherapy, radiation or other therapies. This North Texas non-profit organization relies on the generosity of the community, which has made this incredible facility possible. More information is available at MommiesInNeed.org.