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, colleges, community events, openings, and festivals, shining light on the human experience and the incredible youth of Des Moines Public Schools.