This summer, the Youth Volunteer Corps of Des Moines environmental and sustainability issues during their three weeks of intensive service-learning camps. YVC partnered with Polk County Conservation and Des Moines Water Works as they explored public spaces and learned about how to keep natural ecosystems thriving. A highlight of the summer was a visit from a Polk County Conservation naturalist who presented to the students about bats. Students learned about why bats are essential in our parks to control the mosquito population, and how bats are threatened when they have unsafe places to live. Click here to learn more about bats in Iowa
Students worked together over the course of the three weeks to build seven bat houses to donate to Polk County Conservation! This was a great opportunity for students to work with their hands, and practice following written instructions, working as a team, and using all kinds of tools.
On April 3, Youth Volunteer Corps continued their 30 Days of Service celebration by partnering with the Des Moines chapter of Days for Girls for an exciting service workshop. Days For Girls creates hygiene kits with soap, washcloths, underwear and reusable menstrual pads to send overseas to girls living in extreme poverty.
YVC students spent one week collecting materials. They asked family and friends for soap and fabric donations, and when that was not enough they had the idea to hold a recycling drive at their schools and neighborhoods, raising over $50. The students researched price checks on materials and put together a budget for how to purchase the remaining supplies needed using the money they had raised.
On the day of the event students participated in a 30 minute interactive orientation led by Days for Girls leaders to learn more about the mission and method of the organization, including testimonials and stories from girls abroad who had benefitted from the program. The work session lasted two hours, with youth volunteers working alongside the Des Moines Days for Girls members to create over 100 hygiene kits, which will be sent to Ghana, Uganda and Gaza.
This event was so successful that the students have requested to continue the partnership in the future. YVC has already planned another Days for Girls partnered workshop for the month of May, and the students are excited to continue learning about how to help girls all over the world.
Click here to learn more about Days for Girls.
The 30 days leading up to Global Youth Service Day were full of inspiring youth-led projects around Central Iowa and beyond. Here are just a few examples of Global Youth Service Day projects from Iowa youth.
Leading up to Global Youth Service Day on April 16, Community Youth Concepts is holding the annual "30 Days of Service" campaign. During this time, CYC hopes to engage students who are not typically asked to serve, or students who have little to no experience with volunteering, along with youth leaders who dedicate hours and hours of their time to community service all year long. Supporting adults are encouraged to incorporate the 4 c's (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication) into youth service projects, in line with GYSD's initiative to make service learning engaging for students.
Youth Volunteer Corps of Des Moines kicked off their 30 Days of Service yesterday with a trip to Easter Lake Park in partnership with Polk County Conservation. Pat Spain of PCC spoke with the nine youth volunteers and two YVC staff about the importance of maintaining the parks and trails. During the short window of sunshine in between spring rainstorms, YVC students got two hours worth of exercise clearing the trails. Students worked in small groups and had an opportunity to practice their communication and collaboration skills.
Learn more about Youth Volunteer Corps of Des Moines on their Facebook page. Stay tuned for more student service news during these 30 Days of Service!
Last week, during their after school program at Community Youth Concepts, King Elementary students worked together to make Valentine's Day cards, to be delivered by Meals on Wheels to the elderly with limited mobility. The students were able to express themselves artistically, showing off their unique personalities and capacity for creative thinking. They loved the idea that their cards were going to help someone who might be lonely.
On January 18, 2016 CYC hosted their annual Martin Luther King Day of Service celebration. On Monday morning CYC staff, Des Moines Public Schools Americorps members, and Foodcorps volunteers partnered together to host over 90 volunteers from the community in a variety of engaging service projects to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy of action. Many of the youth present had been previously involved with CYC service clubs, such as Youth Volunteer Corpsand the Kwakers (Kids with a Kause), but there were many new faces as well. There was a large presence of families with small children serving alongside older students. What a wonderful way to celebrate community togetherness, to serve in ways that unite families and bridge gaps across age groups!
Although Global Youth Service Day has come to a close, the service by Iowa youth continues to shine through as we wrap up the school year and Spring is in the air!
Teen Outreach Program from Marshaltown spent two days cleaning up their community to prepare for the beautiful spring time. This was collective work done by 89 middle school students. "Our groups accomplished a lot of clean up in and around the school yard, near by neighborhoods, and parks. They were able to meet some of the elderly women we served with this project, the groups saw how much could be accomplished with a common goal, some organization, and good working attitudes. The groups were involved in each phase of this service project and felt good about what they had accomplished. Students worked hard but had fun working together." - Lana, service facilitator.
uVoice students and members of the Drake Women’s basketball team helped clean-up and prepare a community orchard for the Forest Ave Neighborhood. Students raked leaves and debris, sanded and painted picnic tables, and cut down bushes and shrubs. While the Community Orchard is in the preliminary steps, after all the fruit trees are planted the trees will produce years and years of fresh food for the community. The youth were exposed to a unique idea of a community orchard and got to know each other more while serving alongside one another.
If you're looking for ways to get involved throughout the community, consider volunteering at Hiatt Middle School on May 15th. Viva East Bank will be launching a community garden, planting flowers, making crafts for senior center residents and other meaningful projects that make our communities stronger and more beautiful. There are two shifts available (8:00-11:00 a.m. or 10:30-2:30 p.m.). You can also check out our calendar for a variety of opportunities!
On Saturday, April 18th Community Youth Concepts and Iowa Commission on Volunteer Services joined together to honor Iowa youth who have gone above and beyond the call of service by volunteering 50 or more hours within the past year to needs of their community. 25 students were awarded, and on Saturday at the State Historical Building Miss Greater Des Moines, Serica Rowley and Miss Greater Des Moines Outstanding Teen, Sophia Aguirre, congratulated these students as emcee's for the event.
Collectively, these students volunteered close to 4,000 hours, impacting 97 different organizations, communities, and service projects, and had an economic impact of over $88,000.
Later in the evening, six high school seniors were also awarded a $500 scholarship for volunteering over 100 hours. This scholarship was made possible by Kiwanis Club of Downtown Des Moines, Sloan and Amy Cownie and the Addam C. Medina Foundation, who believe in the power and impact of service.
To see more pictures from the night, visit us on Facebook.