National Dreamer Conference Volunteer/Sponsorship opportunities

The Des Moines “I Have A Dream” Foundation is excited to host the 11th annual National Dreamer Conference, which brings together students supported by “I Have A Dream” programs nationwide.

In July, more than 100 middle school and high school Dreamers from across the country will gather at Drake University to participate in three days of workshops focusing on college and career readiness.

Dreamers will interact with college professors, local professionals, current students, speakers, and program
alumni who have achieved their college goals, and engage in conversation about how to be successful in school and careers.

Students receive a reading list and come prepared to participate in seminars on college selection, career options, leadership, decision making, and public speaking. Dreamers leave having experienced life on a college campus. This time spent immersed in the college environment helps the students to envision their academic futures. They return home inspired and equipped with the tools needed to be personally successful.

We are currently seeking sponsors to help us present this fantastic opportunity to Dreamers, and highlight all Des Moines has to offer.

Individuals may also volunteer at the event, with registration/checkout on July 18 and 21, or a lunchtime “Career Bingo” networking event on Thursday, July 19, 2012.

Please contact Brianne Sanchez ( for Conference details on how you or your company can help!

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Thank you, Prairie Meadows!

The Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation is a proud recipient of a 2012 Prairie Meadows Community Betterment Grant.

We joined hundreds of community nonprofit leaders and scholarship recipients at a luncheon last week. It’s so energizing to see everyone walking around with their oversized checks, catching up and connecting over the amazing work all of the organizations recognized are doing.

Executive Director Emily Hamilton (front left) and Project Manager Brianne Sanchez (front right), were joined by our newest Board Member, Grant Taylor, of JE Dunn Construction. Grant’s enthusiasm for the IHAD mission is boundless. We’re so lucky to have him on our Board!

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Meet Oakridge Project alumna Jenny

Dreamer Alumna: Oakridge Project, University of Iowa, Class of 2012

We’re proud of our successful Dreamer alumni who have gone on to pursue college and careers. Jenny shared how the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation (IHAD) impacted her academically and personally:

Without IHAD, I probably would not have had any idea what to expect after graduating from high school and all the world has to offer. Being a first generation college student, it was very helpful to have IHAD there by my side to guide me through the steps that I needed to take in order to make it to college so that I can further my education and do something with my life. I am finishing out the requirements for my bachelor’s degree in psychology along with some remaining courses for the pre-medical component of my studies at the University of Iowa.

IHAD was a life-changing experience that has helped shape who I am today. Thanks to the guidance, patience and support of the sponsors and project coordinators and everybody else who was involved, I am able to further my education and go after my dreams with 110% confidence in what I do. As a Dreamer, I loved going on trips and participating in outings that were both very educational and fun at the same time. Many good memories have stemmed from those times.

My advice for current Dreamers is to keep working hard in school and use the resources that are available to you — the Program Coordinator, mentors, sponsors, whoever! Just make sure to stay involved and never be afraid to ask questions. Lastly, remember to have fun! As a Dreamer, I loved going on trips and participating in outings that were both very educational and fun at the same time. Many good memories have stemmed from those times.

More than pancakes

This weekend, our Dreamer parents and families joined forces to put on the first annual IHAD Pancake breakfast, a benefit for Dreamer summer camp opportunities and programming.

From a fundraising standpoint, the event was a success, raising more than $1,300 and serving 208 guests who had a choice between plain and chocolate chip, and could add as many pancakes to their pile that they could eat. Bananas and delicious frozen fruit cups were served on the side.

More importantly, though, was the way everyone mobilized as a community to pull off the event. Dreamer mom Amanda McElvogue initially proposed the concept and rallied other parents to help seek raffle donations, work the kitchen and serve as cleanup crew.

The Dreamers took ownership of the event, working at the registration table and waitstaff. Amanda’s son, Daniel, definitely embraced the role of maître d’, seating and checking in on guests. We were so proud of how polite and helpful all of the students were.

This was a fantastic opportunity to connect the Dreamers with the community, practice their communication skills and showcase our organization. In the words of our Dreamers, “Let’s do it again next year!”

See more photos of the event on our Flickr. Thanks to all who joined us and donated, and to these generous sponsors:

Des Moines Area Hy-Vees

Save-A-Lot (SW 9th and Park Ave location)

Jordan Creek Wal-Mart

Fareway (Clive, IA location)

Fareway Grocery (SE 22nd Street location)

Target (Merle Hay Mall location)

Target (Southridge Mall location)

Target (Valley West Drive location)

An anonymous donor provided the pancakes and sausage

Bonus: Frozen Fruit Cup recipe (serves 16, multiply for large groups) 

Ingredients: 3 cups water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 5 bananas, 20 oz. crushed pineapple, 12 oz. frozen orange juice, 22 oz. mandarin oranges (drained), 1 jar maraschino cherries, and 1/3 cup lemon juice.

Boil sugar and water until dissolved. Mix all other ingredients into sugar water and freeze in large casserole pans. Remove 30 minutes before serving.

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Be super! Participate in the Golden Circle Games supply drive

The Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation is thrilled to be one of the recipients of the Golden Circle Games school supply drive, along with our friends at Children & Family Urban Ministries.

Golden Circle Games, which brings together co-workers from local companies to compete in an afternoon’s worth of wacky challenges, will be collecting the following at the gates of the Iowa State Fairgrounds in conjunction with the event:

  • 1 or 2 inch binders
  • Wide ruled loose leaf paper (150 sheets)
  • #2 Pencils
  • Pens (blue, black, red ink)
  • Boxes of tissues
  • Spiral notebooks (wide lined – red, blue, yellow, green, black)
  • 24 count colored pencils
  • Fiskar point tip scissors
  • Glue sticks

This year’s Golden Circle Games will be held on Wednesday, June 13th on the midway at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. and all games will begin at 4:30 p.m. Presentation of awards will tentatively conclude by 9:00 p.m. The theme is superheros! Register your team today.

Can’t make it to the Golden Circle Games? You can always donate classroom items through our Amazon wish list!

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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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