Mind- & Playfulness Promoter
An Iowa native, Ashley is thrilled to be back in Des Moines after spending five years in Michigan where it’s even colder! She’s currently a student at the University of Iowa earning her master’s degree in social work. She wants to meld that discipline with her undergraduate study in leisure services.
Ashley is great at finding her niche, and that’s just what she’ll do at Next Step! For starters, she’ll lend her yoga chops to developing and promoting mindfulness resources, and teaching and facilitating yoga workshops and retreats.
In Michigan, Ashley worked as a child life specialist, striving to normalize the hospital environment through relationship building, slime making, inciting and participating with her patients in pranks on the medical staff. The bulk of her work was helping children, teens, and young adults cope with the harshness of the hospital environment.
In case working with sick kids wasn’t hard enough, she moved on to work with young adults at the Iowa Department of the Blind. She taught blindness and nonvisual skills as well as social emotional, and conflict resolution skills. Ask her about the canoe trip on the Wapsipinicon River!
Ashley completed an internship with Let’s Talk during spring semester 2022. That work dovetails with Next Step’s social justice initiative; Let’s Talk works to interrupt the “school to prison pipeline” by providing mediation and restorative justice in Des Moines middle schools.
We’re pretty sure Ashley will play a key role in keeping play and playfulness at the forefront of our work, just as she has in her other positions.