Harper finds newest adventure at Community Foundation

Memphis Standout profile for The Memphis Daily News

May 3, 2013

When Memphis native Ashley Harper graduated from Central High School and left town, it was for the mountains.

First, for Fort Collins and Colorado State University nestled in the Rocky Mountains where she majored in English and entertained lofty plans of working with metaphors, imagery and language.

Upon her return to Memphis, she did just that working for Burke’s Bookstore for seven years.

When she left Memphis a second time, Harper once again found herself atop a mountain. This time, though, it was Machu Picchu. She, husband, Dan, and their two small children, Flannery and Gus, 5 and 1 at time, respectively, moved to Lima, Peru, in 2000. The couple taught English at a private bilingual school.

She describes the experience of living in a foreign country as “excellent” and “phenomenal.”

“We miss it every day,” she says and would recommend such an adventure to anyone who has the opportunity. “I’m not a traveler, I’ve never done much traveling, but being somewhere and learning to fit in, that’s what I like.”

Back in Memphis in 2004, Harper volunteered at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as an interpreter. Responsibility loomed and the need for paying work led her to Hands On Memphis where she was the “last man standing” before that entity’s merger with Volunteer Memphis … (read more)