Alayna Meeks

Alayna Meeks aspires to work with at-risk youth and their families. When she isn't studying, Alayna enjoys spending time with friends, cooking, and reading.

Alayna Meeks expands on child, adult, and family services studies with volunteer work

Alayna Meeks came to Iowa State University to find a major in which she could help children and families, leading to a flurry of research on majors that facilitated those interests.

Alayna studied family and consumer sciences education and studies her freshman year. During the summer before her sophomore year, she worked at the South Suburban YMCA. This summer job helping children and families with the nonprofit organization led her to change her major to child, adult, and family services. Alayna saw this path as an opportunity to use her compassion and religious values to make an impact in the community.

Alayna’s faith is what drives her to continue her journey of helping others, mainly through involvement and volunteer work.

“[Religion] set the foundation, so I knew what I value and what I want to do. It opened my eyes to what I believe in, and what that looks like [in my future career],” Alayna said.

Following her charitable morals, Alayna also works with Youth and Shelter Services (YSS) in Ames for their before and after school programs, interacting with children through different activities and serving as their role model. Though YSS takes up a majority of her free time, Alayna finds other ways to make her mark. She has an internship with the Butterfly Freedom House, a nonprofit designed to help previously incarcerated women re-adjust to life by providing them with safe housing and a supportive community.

In addition to volunteering, Alayna works in Iowa State's Child Development Lab School as a student assistant. In this position, she provides a helping hand to a head teacher, assisting in multiple classroom activities to aid in child development programs.

Guiding a variety of people and children reaffirms Alayna's dedication to child, adult, and family services. Now a senior, Alayna looks back on her freshman year as a beneficial experience that guided her to find a perfectly-fitting major.

“Just try different things," Alayna said. "If you gain experience in a lot of different fields, it can give you a clearer vision of what you want to do."