Ashley Giritli

WOPB2023-Ashley-GiritliAshley Giritli has always known the value of a smile. She was working as a trained dental assistant and hoped to become a dentist one day, but then another opportunity presented itself. “Being a dentist was a lifelong passion I had,” Ashley says, “but I’m also passionate about volunteer work and being able to give back to the community. That’s always been part of my DNA.”

Ashley accepted a position as the program coordinator for the Mobile Dental Clinic at Caring for Miami, a nonprofit group based in Palmetto Bay that provides a wide variety of crucial services including dental care, a mobile food market, and a weekend meal program for kids. Before long, she realized she had found her true calling. “I fell in love with being able to identify a need and then connecting the person who can meet that need to the person who has it,” she says. “I was building that bridge between a dentist or medical provider and a patient who doesn’t have enough income or isn’t insured. I found a lot of joy and satisfaction in that, and also found that I was very good at it. So being that piece of the puzzle and not the actual provider really seemed like what God was calling me to do.”

Ashley eventually became the director of Caring for Miami’s dental program, which has grown immensely. The mobile clinic used to go out 24 days a year to provide walk-in care to low-income communities, but it now goes out 256 days a year. In 2020 Ashley was named associate director of the entire organization, which she now leads as its executive director. “Dealing with budgets and goals can be grueling, like in any corporate America type of job,” she admits, “but going home each night and knowing that Caring for Miami helps people is incredibly fulfilling, and I feel honored to be able to do this.”

While the organization does provide immediate help to the underprivileged in the form of food assistance, dental care, and literacy education, Ashley’s long-term ambition is to elevate people to the point where they no longer need those services. “We do meet a physical need, but we meet more of a spiritual and emotional need,” Ashley explains. “It’s not just that we fixed somebody’s tooth, it’s that we fixed somebody’s tooth and now that person believes in people again, and now they can smile and feel confident and go on a job interview. That’s why I truly enjoy and love what I do.”

While Caring for Miami performs its good work throughout the Miami area, Ashley’s world is centered in Palmetto Bay. Her family lives here and Caring for Miami’s offices sit next to Christ Fellowship Church, where Ashley’s husband Omar has served as Lead Pastor since 2019. “It’s been a blessing,” Ashley says. “Our friends are in Palmetto Bay, our church is in Palmetto Bay, and our daughter goes to Christ Fellowship Academy. The fact that we’re here Monday through Friday and everything we do is in Palmetto Bay allows us to build meaningful relationships and make an impact on the community. Life is about people, so being able to work, live, play, and pray in Palmetto Bay allows me to have those people, and that’s what I’m grateful for.”