Designate your giving to celebrate the memory and dreams of others

When the life she planned to spend “paying it forward” was cut short, her mother made it happen anyway with a gift to the LBC.

From a young age, Ashley Praplan sensed that too many people in the world have hard circumstances that we might not understand. Instead of walking past people in need, she wanted to know their stories. That interest evolved into a lifelong commitment to pay it forward by serving people in need. In high school, she went door to door to raise money to fund her mission trips to Honduras, Fiji, and Mexico, –at one point so passionately that she ended up raising enough to pay for five other students.

To become certified and take the state boards to become a licensed marriage and family therapist, she completed 3000 internship hours in just 18 months by filling most of her waking hours meeting the needs of vulnerable populations. Supporting seniors as a therapist for Sonoma County Dept. of Behavior Health, she said it was like having 100 grandparents. Outside of work, she volunteered at the Redwood Empire Food Bank, Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, and Christmas in July. She found time to assist unsheltered populations, including handing out N95 masks during the wildfires. She continued to advocate for children’s causes with her time and compassion.

In the years following Ashley’s death in 2018 at age 31, her mother, Lorraine Tunzi, wanted to honor the life her daughter planned to spend paying it forward by helping to make it happen anyway. Recently, she learned that LBC allows donors’ gifts to honor the memory of others – as well as to recognize people’s achievements, passions, and dreams. Donations also can be made to honor birthdays, anniversaries, marriages, friendships, teachers, mentors, and colleagues, among others. To honor Ashley, Lorraine worked with LBC to create a way for people to designate their donations to the Ashley Praplan Education and Engagement Access Fund. In effect, their generosity ensures that Ashley can continue to pay it forward.

“LBC programs support the community in ways that were near and dear to Ashley’s heart,” said Lorraine. “Programs like after-school mariachi, Sing-Along for seniors, artists in the classroom, and scholarships that make it possible for all students to attend live theater – they level the playing field for children and community members who otherwise might not have the financial means to access art and arts education.”

Lorraine, who has attended shows at LBC and been a donor for more than 20 years, chose LBC because it “supports kindness and love in our community.”

“LBC was bringing world-class artists and arts education to the community when the North Bay had very little else to offer in the arts,” she said. When she reached out to friends and family to inform them about the fund, they agreed it was a great fit in representing Ashley and her legacy.

A native of Santa Rosa, Ashley graduated from Rincon Valley Christian School in 2005, Dominican University of California in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and University of San Francisco in 2011 with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. She received a certification from John F. Kennedy University with a Child Trauma and Eating Disorder specialty. Ashley completed her LMFT internship at Bellevue School and Social Advocates for Youth (SAY). Once licensed, she worked for the Sonoma County Behavioral Health Services, Older Adult Team.

“Honoring the memory of someone keeps their passions and dreams alive even after they are gone,” said Lorraine. “Ashley did so much in such a short period of time, it was too soon for her contribution to end. I want people to remember the love and compassion with which she served others and her belief that kindness is free, and you can do so much for people in need.”

“Ashley loved her clients and would not give up; always making sure all their needs were met. She loved people and truly cared about if they were okay and if they needed help.”

Laura Kekule, dear friend whom Ashley referred to as “Auntie Laura.”

“What impressed me about Ashley was her gentle caring heart and her relentless will and energy to pursue the appropriate care for her clients.”

Randye Royston, Retired Section Manager, Sonoma County Behavioral Health Services

“She worked with seniors who not only had severe and persistent mental health diagnoses, but also severe medical problems.”

Kay Smith MFT, Retired. Sonoma County Behavioral Health (SCBH)

Amy coville MFT, Health Program Manager, SCBH

“She worked extremely hard in her internship (at Social Advocates for Youth – SAY). She always advocated for and supported the kids she worked with, fiercely showing up to support them at life milestones.”

Will Gayowski, MFT

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