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community outreach program

The Des Moines Arts Festival and premier sponsor Prairie Meadows team up to present the Prairie Meadows Community Outreach Program. This award-winning program offers nonprofit organizations the opportunity to participate onsite and share their mission and programming to thousands of guests free-of-charge. In exchange for the free booth space, each organization provides an interactive arts-related activity for guests.

2019 Community Outreach Program Participants

Animal Rescue League of Iowa

The ARL works towards the promotion of animal welfare, strengthening the human-animal bond, and preventing the overpopulation of pets. The ARL does this by serving people and pets from across the state of Iowa through its programs, which include pet adoption, humane education, pet behavior training, spay/neuter, animal cruelty intervention and much more.

Activity: Design your own cat, dog, or rabbit mask with cardstock and cut up paper to create a unique mosaic design.

Blank Park Zoo

The Blank Park Zoo is the only accredited zoo in the state of Iowa. Its mission is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, research and recreation.

Activity: Get your hands dirty and make your own seed ball from clay and prairie seeds.

Boys 2 Men

Boys2Men Youth Programs helps equip youth and families with the tools necessary to successfully complete elementary school, transition into middle school and assist families in addressing delinquent behaviors that might lead the youth into the juvenile justice system. Their programming also provides opportunities for high school students to volunteer to work with younger youth while avoiding delinquent activities that could be detrimental to their future. Additionally, their programming meets the needs of mainstream students who are enrolled in regular education programs as well as alternative school programs and provides age and developmentally appropriate opportunities for youth and families to build community while learning basic life skills that are conducive to productive members of their communities.

Activity: Be artistic and paint a rock with a happy and uplifting message to take home.

Catholic Schools Diocese of Des Moines

The 17 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Des Moines provide a rigorous, quality education through a faith based environment, certified teachers, and the commitment of parents. They offer unique programs like Spanish Immersion, a year-round school, leadership programs, international student exchange programs, Advanced Placement, religious retreats, extracurricular activities, community-oriented clubs, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) or STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, art, and math). Their Catholic schools teach students to serve those in need in their families, their communities, and the world and they offer tuition assistance to all eligible families based on their financial need.

Activity: Have fun at the “Let Your Spirit Soar” photo booth and sketch your own image into a foam board then transfer it onto a separate sheet of paper. Write what you would like to be when your grow up on a rubber band that will be weaved onto a board to create the Diocesan logo one rubber band at a time.

Community Support Advocates, Inc.

Community Support Advocates is a local nonprofit serving 1200 individuals and families impacted by disabilities. They support individuals and families by connecting resources, providing support, and encouraging creative expression. Community Support Advocates have a free program called Momentum. The Momentum Program is a community of artists using art and their shared experiences to build resilience and overcome barriers of mental health and disability.

Activity: Create your own masterpiece necklace from different sizes of metal washers and leather cords.

Des Moines European Heritage Association

Des Moines European Heritage Association connects Iowans with European traditions, language education and cultural experiences. They support cultural heritage organizations with resources and tools to maintain and grow their memberships.

Activity: Create your own little broom in tradition of La Befana, The Italian Christmas Witch, to hang in your room or on your Christmas tree.


EveryStep is a family of not-for-profit health care and support services offering compassion and guidance during life's most challenging moments. They provide compassionate comfort care to those with chronic or serious illnesses, medical and social services for women, children and families, adults and seniors, and communities across Iowa. Services include home visits, family support, parent education, transportation, and much more. The EveryStep mission: We empower individuals, support families and strengthen communities.

Activity: Create and decorate your own 3-D version of a home.

Greater Des Moines Sister Cities Commission

The Greater Des Moines Sister Cities Commission was created to foster relationships and to make introductions for economic, educational, and cultural cooperation between the citizens of the Des Moines Metropolitan area and other communities around the globe; and for the coordination of sister city activities.

Activity: Create a pig corner bookmark through folding colored paper and glue on eyes, ears, and a nose.

Iowa Dance Theatre

Iowa Dance Theatre's mission is to raise awareness, develop appreciation, increase opportunities and support dance as a performing art within our community. They have many fun events and performances throughout the year such as the Zombie Tap Event, Dracula the Adventure, and the annual performance of the Nutcracker.

Activity: Come hang out at this movement filled booth! Activates include homemade hair ribbons, a stretch band maze, Hulu-hoops, and sidewalk chalk.

Iowa Human-Animal Bond Society

Iowa Human-Animal Bond Society is a nonprofit with a mission focused on physical, mental, and emotional well-being via the development of the human-animal bond. Through their programming, they provide skilled nursing and long-term care communities, hospice, mental health organizations, schools, and libraries, a unique opportunity to experience the wide-reaching benefits of human-animal interactions via their fully registered therapy animal teams. They strive to create positive wellness changes by providing, promoting, and supporting health and wellness initiatives across central Iowa.

Activity: Create your own pom pom puppy or paper bag puppet cat. Engage in demonstrations on safe dog interactions and meet and great therapy dogs during certain times of the day.

Iowa Music Educators Association

Iowa Music Educators Association (IMEA) is a statewide organization of music educators. The core purpose of IMEA is to advance music education in the state of Iowa. They believe all children have the capacity for music learning. As an organization of music educators, they utilize every opportunity to honor this potential by engaging with them musically.

Activity: Have fun creating your own egg shaker that can be used to keep rhythm. You can also enjoy music and movement activities with the Iowa Music Educators Association.


The Iowa Radio Reading Information Service for the Blind and Print Handicapped (IRIS) delivers equal access to the printed word for Iowans who can’t comfortably hold print material or use the words on the page because of blindness, visual or physical impairment or cognitive difference. Every day of the year, volunteers read newspapers and other publications out loud. More than 3,700 listeners statewide tune in to the 24/7 IRIS signal on custom radios provided at no cost to them.

Activity: Create your name in braille by tracing the outline of your name in puff paint on a notecard to take home.

Iowa Youth Chorus

The Iowa Youth Chorus (IYC) serves students across Central Iowa and offers programs for children in first grade through high school in their Primary Choir, Children's Choir, and Chorale. ITC believes in utilizing choral music to give every child the opportunity to reach their fullest potential and that the best version of every child lies on the other side of an arts education. Iowa Youth Chorus training develops skills in choral singing, music theory, artistic creativity, expression and style.

Activity: Make your own instruments with the Iowa Youth Chorus and learn “Do-Re-Mi” from the movie The Sound of Music. Instruments include tambourines and pan flutes.

Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer (L.U.N.A.)

Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer (L.U.N.A.) was developed as a community-based pilot program in 1999 (becoming a formal organization in 2002) with the purpose of providing culturally-specific services to Latina victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. L.U.N.A.’s mission is to empower, educate, and advocate for victims and survivors (men, women, and children) of domestic violence and sexual assault in our community, so that they may build futures free from violence. Their direct services include educational and individual counseling, personal/legal/medical advocacy, support groups, 24-hour crisis line, safety planning, community referrals, and providing sexual assault and domestic violence trainings throughout the state as well as community outreach and education.

Activity: Butterflies represent freedom. Use the freedom of your imagination to create a beautiful butterfly by sticking multicolored craft papers together to create colorful wings.

Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI)

LSI is relentlessly dedicated to service Iowa families. Their work isn’t done until every Iowa child has a safe and loving home; until every individual struggling with mental illness has access to quality therapy; until every former refugee feels welcome in their new home; until every Iowan with a disability has the independence they need to thrive. LSI has more than 25 offices across the state of Iowa, including Des Moines, and they are fueled by the power of the human spirit and driven to create stronger Iowa communities.

Activity: Create your own tactile sensory stress ball or your own intention stick.

Opportunity on Deck

Opportunity on Deck strives to serve Central Iowa communities by providing free-of-charge athletic opportunities and sports equipment for children. Opportunity on Deck uses sports to teach valuable athletic skills and techniques, provide role models to participants, instill lifelong values of teamwork good character and healthy living habits as well as promote diverse communities.

Activity: Make your own soccer ball, baseball, or basketball bead keychain.

Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting the world's toughest cancer. In their urgent mission to save lives, they attack pancreatic cancer on all fronts: research, clinical initiatives, patient services and advocacy. Their efforts are amplified by a nationwide network of grassroots support. They are determined to improve patient outcomes today and to double survival by 2020.

Activity: Get creative using up-cycled t-shirts to create headbands, bracelets, and necklaces.

Pulse 101.7 FM

Pulse 101.7FM plays all-positive pop and hip-hop music. Their mission is to provide cool music with encouraging lyrics and uplifting talk between the songs. Take the 30-day challenge and see for yourself how great their music makes you feel!

Activity: Design a unique creation using your own thumbprint.

Salsa Des Moines

Salsa Des Moines (SDM) is an organization that offers the most comprehensive instruction program in Latin dance in the state of Iowa.

Activity: Let Salsa Des Moines teach you various genres of dance.

Walnut Creek Church

Walnut Creek Church is a vibrant multi-site Christian Community in the Greater Des Moines area that is passionate about Jesus.

Activity: Use your imagination and colored construction paper to create your own unique planet and galaxy while focusing on the “Beauty Above.”

The award-winning Community Outreach Program is made possible because of the generous support from
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