I’ll admit it – for about a decade before I started working at a youth/education oriented nonprofit, I was pretty clued out of the school-aged scene. College and working at a magazine targeted to 20-somethings can do that. I was vaguely aware of which schools in Des Moines were near my home, but the lives of the students who attended weren’t a big concern to me.
Then I met a group of kids whose big personalities (and for some of them, problems) made me take notice. A year into my job at the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation, I’m listening more closely to the education debate, but I’ve also gotten to know my smaller neighbors a lot better. Having them squeal with delight when I opened the door when they were out trick-or-treating was a really cool feeling. We have our little sub communities in town, but it’s easy for me to run in those and forget this backpack-wearing major population of our larger community.
I’m learning that the best thing we can do for the kids in our community is show we care. Don’t wait until you’re a parent to attend an event at a school. Think about becoming a mentor, or volunteering with youth. You couldn’t pay me to go back and re-live my 7th grade year, and with that in mind I hope I’m able to stay empathetic to these kids. (Also, hanging out with youth lets you in on the lingo. This un-hip lady now knows what “swag” and “rachet” mean.)
All of this to say a really easy (and fun!) way to support creativity in schools and a means of expression for youth is to attend “Share the Mic” on Friday night (7-9 p.m.) at the performing arts hall at Drake. Tickets are $5. Proceeds will benefit IHAD.
I could not be more inspired by what Kristopher and Emily are doing for their students. They are the kind of teachers who make your spine tingle!