RunDSM’s Top 10: 2016 Edition

December 31, 2016

1. RunDSM: The Doc, a film by Nick Strickland, debuted at the Fleur Cinema.

2. Team Des Moines, coached by RunDSM alumni Leah Waughtal and Half-Pints Poetry consultant Words Taylor, qualified for semi-finals for the second year in a row at the 19th Annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in Washington, D.C. Comprised of 60 teams from across the world, our youth poets placed in the top 12!

3. The students of Urban Leadership hosted their 4th Annual Teen Summit for 200+ young people in Des Moines Public Schools, leading town hall meetings, engaging in artistic workshops led by local and national artists, and performing in a community showcase of spoken word poetry with acclaimed poet Dr. Joshua Bennett.

4. RunDSM’s Half-Pints Poetry program, a weekly workshop series led by Words Taylor, hosted their first School vs. School Poetry slam in May, with Findley being the first squad to snatch the golden boom box. The program has now expanded to 17 elementary schools in Des Moines Public Schools thanks to our partnership with 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the dedication of Movement 515 poets who serve as mentors and coaches. Shout-out to Stowe Elementary for snatching the boom box at the latest slam!

5. Youth graffiti writers in Movement 515 Color Control, led by local and national artist Asphate, completed a second mural on the flood wall behind Central Campus. After the first mural was painted over due to a devastating miscommunication, the people of Des Moines rallied together, raising over $4000 in 24 hours.

6. Elhondra Brazzle and Julio Delgadillo, members of Des Moines’ 2016 Brave New Voices team, were invited to take part in the Library of Congress Poetry Slam in Washington, D.C. Receiving an all-expense paid trip to our nation’s capitol, they slayed the competition, Elhondra taking 1st and Julio taking 2nd, respectively.

7. The second RunDSM Scholarship was awarded to David Ewing, Lincoln graduate and freshman at the University of Iowa, at Summer Fam Jam! Chicago hip-hop artist Kweku Collins headlined the event, with poetry, local hip-hop, our favorite b-boys and b-girls, street art lacing the Viaduct Gallery, and a youth graffiti competition taking over the alley of the Des Moines Social Club.

8. Students in Urban Leadership 102 engaged in internships in both elementary schools and non-profit organizations (Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Children and Family Urban Movement, Des Moines’ I Have a Dream Foundation, and Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa), gaining valuable skills in leadership, mentoring, event planning, and more!

9. Thanks to the support of the Des Moines Public Schools Foundation, Movement 515 Middle School workshops were piloted at Hiatt, Harding, and Callanan Middle Schools, alongside Goodrell’s existing workshop. The program is led in part by DMPS graduates and RunDSM alumni, bringing it full-circle from its inception at Harding Middle School.

10. The youth of Movement 515 engaged in 42 performances, led and participated in over 100 workshops, and raised over $1000 for local non-profit organization CFUM, bringing the amount they have given locally to over $12,000 in the last 5 years.

Happy New Year, friends. May we continue wrapping our arms around these incredible young people and striving to create safe and brave spaces for them to shine.

With love and gratitude,
Emily & Kristopher