So… I’m embarrassed to say I neglected to post two of my biggest “fivers” last week. Shame on me because these two things have taken a majority of my work time and personal time in April and May and they matter. A lot.
1. I have been planning a youth service day for a school of 600 students at Hiatt Middle School in the neighborhood where I’m doing community building. First and foremost this was not my event. I’ve been very fortunate and also worked hard to create and maintain awesome partnerships with individuals inside and outside the school who helped make this event happen. My role was fairly large though and I put a lot of energy into making sure this event didn’t only serve the youth, but it also was an opportunity to get the media engaged in positive east-side stories, volunteers from the community to engage in youth and to beautify the neighborhood. It was all-encompassing and it was a total success. KCCI came out and did a blurb on their evening show, The Des Moines Register wrote a spectacular piece, Des Moines Public School media was present and wrote an article and posted great pictures and we had tons of people show up to support this day. Students loved the day (well, not all of them) and we are building a culture where volunteering is natural, it’s something that’s easy to do and get plugged into. If you check out the pictures you’ll see that we installed an amazing flower bed, got the huge community garden planted with tons of veggies, painted pots, did several crafts to give to seniors, sick kids and troops and other activities.
2. The Water Ride happened again for the second year! Again, not my event, but I have a really strong connection to it because I had the idea of doing a local ride in Des Moines to support clean water efforts after I got back from riding across America in 2012. I approached The Move Project guys and they thought it could be a good event to fundraise and build their brand. It was a good fit and this year we fundraised about $7,000 with Des Moines Water Works as the major sponsor. That is enough money to freaking dig and build a well in this community. Clean water is so important. It means people can have an education & job instead of fetching water. It means incredibly better health (and not dying from really curable things like oh, diarrhea). It means a stronger community. So, that’s done! Thanks to everyone who supported this from the get-go.
3. The grant my partner in crime and I went in for from DHS (and got) is starting in a couple weeks and we have nearly 100 people registered. This is unbelievable. I will be leading eight sessions on volunteerism and creating a “youth corps” within East High School to continue engaging youth in giving back. This is huge as we hope to be able to provide small seed funding for projects the students come up with.
4. My little and I from Big Brothers Big Sisters spent part of our Wednesday evening at Sleepy Hollow. The last time I went there I was in high school and it was winter. I felt old and fragile after I did the Go Karts and literally pulled something in my foot from pressing the gas pedal. She had a great time though and did Go Karts for the first time and climbed her highest on the rock climbing wall!
5. Feeling über thankful for last weekend, especially as a few weeks of weddings are in the near future (not that it’s a bad thing). I laid out, went on a bike ride, went to Maleficent, nannied an awesome chica and hit up Winefest. I heart summer. So. Much.