Top 10 Highlights of 2015

January 3, 2016

1) We awarded the first RunDSM Scholarship of $3,750 to Susan Stacy, Hoover grad, at our first annual Summer Fam Jam! The celebration, held in the Courtyard of the Des Moines Social Club, featured the Half-Pints poets of King Elementary, the poets of Movement 515, local hip-hop crew The WAYV, deejay Tre Boogie, and street art by artists in Movement 515 and Urban Leadership.

2) Team Des Moines, co-coached by North High Movement 515 alum Leah Waughtal, took the stage in Atlanta, GA, at the 18th Annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival, and, for the first time ever, qualified for semi-finals, finishing in the top 8 of 60 teams from across the globe!

3) Half-Pints Poetry, our elementary school spoken word poetry and performance workshop led by Words Taylor and senior poets of Movement 515, expanded to 13 elementary schools thanks to a beautiful partnership with Des Moines Public Schools’ 21st Century Community Learning Centers!

4) The first RunDSM Youth Advisory Board was formed, comprised of 2 young people from each of the 5 comprehensive high schools. Meeting monthly, our goal is to equip youth with skills in event planning and teaching artistry and allow them a greater part in running the organization. Youth have already begun taking leadership roles in producing community events and leading workshops within their home schools and the community. It’s powerful to watch them lead and shine!

5) The students of Urban Leadership hosted their second annual Teen Summit, bringing over 225 youth from across Des Moines Public Schools together to discuss issues of social justice and creatively express and process their conversations with guidance from local and national teaching artists.

6) Our Urban Leadership program at Central Campus doubled in enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year! We are currently working with over 110 youth from across the district and are in awe watching them navigate tough conversations surrounding social justice, as well as intern in local elementary schools and non-profit organizations.

7) Movement 515, our weekly workshop series, welcomed local artists Asphate and ASan to begin providing weekly graffiti writing and breakdancing workshops at the Des Moines Social Club.

8) The youth raised over $1000 for Youth Emergency Shelter and Services of Iowa (YESS) at our bi-annual Share the Mic event, showing the community how powerful their poetry truly is.

9) We piloted our first Movement 515 Summer Urban Arts Camp for students entering grades 8 or 9 in Des Moines Public Schools. Graduated poets Leah Waughtal, Ethan Anderson, Bao Luong, and Susan Stacy led students in spoken word poetry and performance, and local artists Asphate and Gage One instructed students in graffiti writing.

10) We were fortunate to bring in 5 national teaching artists, Jasmine Mans, Jose Vadi, Shannon Matesky, Natasha Huey, and Outspoken Bean, to workshop with the youth, providing them unique experiences with artists from across the country.

And, 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. 


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