Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sweet Dreams 2012 was a success!

Can a canapé change the world?

Find more photos of the food and fun on our Flickr:

It seems like a simple notion, but for a group of Des Moines “Dream Makers,” finger foods set the scene for engaging a powerful philanthropic force. Every spring for the past six years, a committee of local women has gathered to host “Sweet Dreams” — a girls night out style get together–  to support the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation.

This April, Sweet Dreams raised more than $37,000 to provide support that will keep at-risk students in Des Moines in school, and help them on their way to college.

The right combination of food and friendship can indeed have a tremendous impact on a community. In addition to appetizers, this year’s event featured a touching testimonial from a past Dreamer, Kristen Holcomb, who shared how the organization impacted her:

Special thanks to 2012 Sweet Dreams Committee Members:

Dotty Thurston (Hostess), Kathy Stuart (Co-Chair) Michele Whitty (Co-Chair) Sara Bering, Nancy Bone, Diane Brown, Mary Cownie, Paula Duncan, Suzanne Farley, Priscilla Gilbert, Lynn Graves, Barbara Grefe, Ginny Hancock, Beth Koenig, Joan Middleton, Becky Moomey, Paula O’Brien, Cheryl Sypal, Nancy Vernon, Linda Witte.

Thanks also to Hoyt Sherman Place for lending us sound equipment, Tank Goodness for their delivery of warm, fresh chocolate chip cookies,  Cuisine at Home magazine staff for contributing a dish, Bethany Kohoutek for photography and Ephemera Design and Universal Printing for our lovely invitations.

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Calling Des Moines chess players!

The Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation is always looking for creative ways to help prepare our students for success in college and careers.

This year, as part of the summer school experience, we’re hoping to form a chess club! Chess promotes critical thinking, concentration, problem solving and discipline — all skills our soon-to-be 7th graders must master.

Know chess? We’re seeking volunteer players to join our students in the classroom for an hour at a time during our summer school session.We are also seeking donations of chess/checker boards for the classroom.

Dates/times we would need volunteer chess players:

Friday, June 8th   9:45-10:30 AM

Tuesday, June 12th  9:45-10:30 AM

Thursday, June 14th  9:45-10:30 AM

Monday, June 18th  10-10:30 AM

Thursday, June 21th  10-10:30 AM

Monday, June 25th  10-10:30 AM

Thursday, June 28th  10-10:30 AM

If you are  interested in helping introduce middle school students to the game, let us know!

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A surprise for summer school

Last week, ABC 5 — along with sponsors Bankers Trust and Prairie Meadows — awarded IHAD a $1,000 grant to help pay for our summer school programming. The award also comes with a workshop from our friends at CultureAll.

It was a Publishers Clearing House type moment when Rachel Pierce arrived at school to present the check:

Surprise! IHAD received a $1,000 grant for summer school!

Watch this fantastic video of the ABC 5 “One Classroom at a Time” award presentation to learn more about how we’re helping students achieve their dreams:

Kamia answers interview questions like a pro

THANK YOU “One Classroom at a Time” Sponsors!

We're excited to host summer school for Dreamers at Callanan Middle School this year!

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Our board is awesome

Last night, the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation Board of Directors met in the Callanan Middle School Classroom that our Dreamers use as a “home base” during the school day. Principal Calaway talked about the relationship the IHAD program has with the public school, and Kristi gave the board a tour of all of the elements of the room that contribute to our students’ success.

IHAD academic coordinator Kristi Dusenbery explains some of the challenges middle school students are facing.

It was great for the Board to sit in the same seats our Dreamers use during the day and get a different perspective on how the organization operates.

There's no better place to connect with our mission than in the Dreamer classroom.

We value their enthusiasm, professionalism and efforts to make our organization a success!

The IHAD board listens to challenges our middle school students face.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation, our Board members are great contacts in the community.

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National Volunteer Week: Make a difference with IHAD

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we thought we would share a few ways you can make a difference with the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation:

Books & Bagels: This monthly event spans the school year. Dreamers and siblings gather at the Drake University School of Education for an hour of reading and a breakfast of bagels and doughnuts on a Saturday morning. Join us as a volunteer reading buddy! We’re looking for volunteers for the May 19 event, since Drake students will be out for summer break.

Books and Bagels is a monthly literacy event held in the Drake School of Education library.

After school tutoring: The school year is down to the final stretch, but IHAD values our volunteer tutors more than ever! Help our Dreamer students achieve their academic goals and spend some one-on-one time as they tackle middle school math, language arts, science and global studies concepts.

Enrichment activity chaperone: We love to take our Dreamers on outings that expand their horizons and often turn to mentors and volunteers to help with transportation and chaperoning duties.

Dreamer Conference Volunteer: The 2012 Dreamer Conference will be held right here on the Drake University campus! We’re excited for the opportunity to host more than 100 Dreamer students from affiliates across the country. If you’d like to help with check-in/out, as a workshop facilitator, chaperone, or at our career fair, the conference is a great way to get acquainted with our mission.

Mentor: Our mentors play an integral role in helping to shape the successful future of our Dreamers. Mentors spend one-on-one time to provide consistent adult support for a child from a low-income community. Hang out and have fun (take in a sporting event, see a play, try a science experiment together) — but with a purpose.  We ask for at least a one year commitment, although often our mentors stay involved for the duration of the projects. Mentors should visit with a Dreamer a minimum of three times during each month. Personal and criminal background records checks are required.

A key component of the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation is building strong relationships between our Dreamers and adults who can model responsibility and a path to success. We concentrate on a public school class from first grade through high school to provide a proactive, sustained approach to lowering the dropout rate – one student at a time. If you believe in the importance of motivating and empowering low-income youth, we would be grateful for any time, talents and resources you would be willing to commit to our Dreamers.

For more information on local volunteering opportunities and efforts, check out Volunteer Iowa!

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Pancakes, pancakes, get your pancakes!

The parents and students of the Des Moines ” I Have a Dream” Foundation are hosting their first ever All-you-can-eat Pancake Breakfast to raise money for summer camps and programs, and we’d love to see you there!

When: 8-11 a.m. Saturday, May 5, 2012

Where: Central Presbyterian Church, 3829 Grand Ave.
(Please use the rear entrance)

Cost: $5 per person or $20 per family (up to two adults and four children)

Tickets are available through Dreamer families, or by calling the IHAD office at 515-271-1974, or at the door.

Cause: The Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation adopts classrooms of inner-city, high risk kids in first grade, provides tutoring & mentoring along with personal support along the way. Upon successful completion of high school, financial assistance  for college is guaranteed.

It’s an exciting gift for families to know that their child will be supported for college. And this year, our Dreamer parents have created this pancake breakfast fundraiser as a way to contribute to the Foundation’s efforts.

Join us for a fun (and delicious!) community event and help send kids to summer camp!

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DMU Girls in Science Day

There was no sleeping in Saturday for a group of our Dreamer girls who participated in the 2012 “Girls in Science” day, presented by the Women’s Medical Alliance of Des Moines University.

We love connecting our Dreamers with hands-on experiences at local colleges and universities. Thanks to DMU for exposing our girls to topics like surgery, chemistry, anatomy, microbiology and OMM. You never know what opportunity will create a “spark” of excitement about careers and future studies.

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Earning and Learning

Our Dreamers have already received a great gift: the promise of a college education. The Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation (IHAD) promise also involves continued support — making sure our students have the skills they need to grow into responsible adults.

IHAD starts financial literacy lessons early.

Financial literacy is an important component of success, so Ms. Dusenbery created a system that would teach students about saving an spending habits and reward them for doing their job: being on time, behaving appropriately in class, attending our enrichment activities, getting good grades and going above and beyond to help their classmates.

Our Dreamers love looking in their ledgers to see how much they’ve earned.

We call this our “Commission System.” Each student has a ledger full of faux checks that our IHAD classroom staff writes in amounts that correspond to attendance, behavior, grade data, etc. The Dreamers must balance their checkbooks each week. Just like in the real world, they can earn interest on “money” they save, and are penalized for overdrawing on their accounts.

Twice a week, they have the opportunity to purchase instant gratification  items like snacks, or they can save up for bigger things like sports hats or a new backpack and even experiences, like trips to see a movie with a mentor or staff member. Our Dreamers are quickly learning how to manage money. As they grow older, we’re envisioning the Commission System to evolve to help pay the fees for the sports teams and extracurricular activities our Dreamers want to participate in, but couldn’t otherwise afford.

If you’d like to donate an item or gift card to IHAD to offer through the commission system, please contact the IHAD program staff.

Looking for financial literacy resources? Iowa College Aid offers programs for various age levels.

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