Black & Gold Ball

Julio, Russhaun, and Davonte, poets of Movement 515, received a STANDING OVATION at the Black and Gold Ball sponsored by Zeta Kappa Lambda Educational Foundation. We are thankful for their continued support in providing our youth platforms to share their truth.





Movement 515 at Principal Financial Group’s Black History Month Celebration

Huge shout-out to Principal Financial Group for providing our poets a platform to get free at their Black History Month Celebration! Special thanks to Ethan, Davonte, Jamie, Russhaun, and Jahleel for sharing your truth. You make us so proud!







Half-Pints Poetry at King Elementary

We recently piloted our first Half-Pints Poetry workshop for 4th-5th grade students at King Elementary! Led by spoken word poet Words Taylor and six high school poets from Movement 515, the program serves 20 of the brightest young minds in Des Moines Public Schools. A few weeks ago, we dropped in to witness a bit of their magic. Check them out!

Half-Pints, Full Hearts
















RunDSM’s 2nd Annual Teen Summit

On Friday, January 30 and Saturday, January 31, over 200 youth from Des Moines Public Schools engaged in RunDSM’s 2nd Annual Teen Summit, with the goal of creating safe spaces for teens to discuss issues facing their communities, brainstorming possible solutions and becoming ambassadors for change. During the summit, students engaged in town hall meetings, artistic workshops, a documentary screening, and a public performance, focusing on the following topics chosen by youth in Urban Leadership at Central Campus: Race & Poverty, LGBTQ Rights, Police Brutality, and Women’s Issues.

Huge shout-out to local photographer Eduardo Arana for capturing the festivities. Follow him on Instagram here!

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Urban Leadership + INEZ

We had the incredible opportunity to partner with local photography duo INEZ (Joe Crimmings + Jami Milne) to capture the essence, vulnerability, and fire within our young people. All photographs will be displayed at RunDSM’s 2nd Annual Teen Summit. Witness the magic below!

Urban Leadership 101

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Urban Leadership 102

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Top 10 Highlights of 2014

1)    The students of Urban Leadership hosted our First Annual Teen Summit, bringing 200+ youth together to discuss issues of social justice, partake in artistic workshops, moderate a youth + community panel, perform for a standing-room only audience and debut a powerful photo project shot by local photography duo INEZ. Oh, and there may have been a little dancing, too! 

2)   We celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a full day of events, performing at the Governor’s celebration, marching from the Iowa State Capitol to Evelyn Davis Park, and headlining the Forest Ave. Library Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

3)   We hosted four Share the Mic: Community Voices Creating Change events, raising nearly $3000 for local non-profit organizations and a well-deserving family in Des Moines.

4)   We hosted our 2nd Annual DSM Teen Poetry Slam, with the 6 top-scoring poets representing Des Moines at the Brave New Voices International Teen Poetry Festival in Philadelphia, PA.

5)   Team Des Moines was asked to perform at the opening ceremony of Brave New Voices in front of 600+ youth poets, artists, and activists from around the world, receiving a standing ovation and representing our city with pride!

6)   Minorities on the Move, our 2-week summer program, expanded to all 5 high schools in DMPS, and 12 former youth participants + 6 certified teachers were hired to facilitate the program. There’s nothing more powerful than watching the youth of our city take over these programs! It was a proud moment for the RunDSM family.

7)   Movement 515 received a $70,000 grant from the United Way of Central Iowa to facilitate year-long spoken word + street art programming, allowing us to expand to all 5 high schools, hire 6 poet mentors and 1 street art instructor, and begin our first-ever school vs. school poetry slam season.

8)   RunDSM was officially adopted by the Des Moines Public Schools, allowing us the opportunity to provide more of our district’s incredible youth opportunities to express and have their voices heard. In addition to the new street art program, 6 youth have been hired by 21st Century Programming to work with Words Taylor and pilot our first Half-Pints Poetry program at King Elementary in January! Stay tuned for a show featuring the half-pints poets in 2015!

9)   Urban Leadership at Central Campus expanded to a 2-year program, with 17 students partaking in internships in 3 elementary schools in DMPS, writing and facilitating creative lessons to help 4th and 5th grader students define their identities.

10)                   The poets of Movement 515 performed at 10+ rallies, conferences, collegescommunity events, openings, and festivals, shining light on the human experience and the incredible youth of Des Moines Public Schools.

The Youth of DSM / Black Lives Matter

On Sunday, December 14, the youth of Des Moines organized a rally for peace to celebrate the lives of those lost due to police brutality. The present and our future are bright.

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All photos courtesy of RunDSM / Ms. Emily Lang


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