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Alumni award winner is devoted to the neighborhood, and its pets

Ashley Klein is that this 12 months’s recipient of the Younger Alumnus Award, given to an alumnus 39 years of age or youthful, to acknowledge character and citizenship, achievement or service rendered, and honors and recognition obtained.

Klein is devoted to her neighborhood. The truth is, it says so, proper on her CV of her: “I hang around with canines and make my neighborhood higher.”

Klein will obtain the award and communicate to college students, college and workers in Bethel’s weekly convocation on Monday, Oct. 10.

Klein, of Newton, graduated from Bethel Faculty in 2013 with a double main in psychology and pure sciences. As a scholar, she began her personal enterprise, Blue Skies Pet Care, to assist pay the payments.

On the time, Klein knew of no different pet-care enterprise in Newton. Twelve years later, Blue Skies has grown by leaps and bounds.

As her diploma neared completion, Klein says, she was confronted with whether or not to begin making use of to graduate packages or keep near dwelling (she was born and raised in Newton) and maintain constructing the enterprise.

“I made a decision that somewhat than taking it out-of-state, out of the neighborhood, I might maintain it native,” she says. “In case you keep in the neighborhood, you get to see the advantages – in a small neighborhood, you possibly can immediately see the distinction an individual or enterprise makes.”

And Klein began that even earlier than commencement. Early on in her enterprise, she realized Newton actually wanted a canine park.

Purchasers informed her they might drive all the best way to Wichita to make use of parks that weren’t even free, requiring an annual membership charge.

She started engaged on the undertaking in 2012. She secured Caring Arms Humane Society in Newton because the fiscal sponsor for tax-deductible donations, discovered matching grants, and “did a whole lot of fundraising with people.”

The Newton Canine Park, situated in Centennial Park and free to the general public and their canines, opened in September 2016.

In 2018, Klein employed her first Blue Skies worker along with herself. At the moment, she has seven – pet caregivers, workforce leaders and the latest, employed simply this month, skilled canine coach Vanessa Hajek.

As a psychology main at Bethel, Klein targeted on canines at any time when potential – impartial research, senior undertaking. She did a 9-month internship at Caring Arms with a canine coach, and stored honing her expertise in that space by volunteering on the shelter.

“I take advantage of my psychology main on a regular basis,” she says, “and never solely in animal conduct, however working with folks, usually folks of various backgrounds.

“YO [wouldn’t call myself] a folks individual however my communications programs, convocation and different [Bethel experiences] helped me develop my expertise working with folks.”

Nor was the canine park her final community-focused effort.

She continues to volunteer as a canine coach at Caring Arms.

She presently serves on the board of trustees of the Newton Public Library. Because the board consultant to the NPL Basis, she is presently deeply concerned in a serious capital marketing campaign to construct a brand new library.

She’s additionally a part of each Large Brothers Large Sisters of Harvey County, serving on the Fundraising Occasions Committee for 3 years, and Newton Younger Professionals.

She was Occasions Chair and a council member for NYP from 2019-21. In 2017, she was the Newton Younger Skilled of the 12 months.

“I take pleasure in Newton,” Klein says. “Too usually, folks turn into educated or no matter after which transfer on. I did not wish to be a type of folks.

“I felt like I might keep right here and make a distinction in the neighborhood.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts faculty based in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite faculty in North America. Identified for educational excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 within the Washington Month-to-month listing of “Finest Bachelor’s Faculties” for 2022-23. Bethel is the one Kansas faculty or college to be named a Reality, Racial Therapeutic and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Heart. For extra info, see

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