Home Donors, Volunteers Organizations MLK Day: Volunteers clean, give back to Des Moines nonprofit Urban Dreams on day of service – Des Moines Register

MLK Day: Volunteers clean, give back to Des Moines nonprofit Urban Dreams on day of service – Des Moines Register

9 min read
0
46

Philip Joens
 
| Des Moines Register

Volunteers buzzed around Urban Dreams’ office at 601 Forest Ave. Monday as they cleaned and gave back to the organization on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Throughout Monday, volunteers cleaned the office as a way to give back to the nonprofit organization during Urban Dreams’ MLK Day of Service. MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage Americans to volunteer to improve their communities, according to AmeriCorps, a federally funded civil service program.

In one corner of the office, volunteers pulled a refrigerator away from the wall and cleaned behind it. Other volunteers dusted off shelves. The scent of disinfectant filled the air. Outside, volunteers used long squeegees to clean windows.

“It’s like having a bunch of Roombas,” said Urban Dreams Executive Director Izaah Knox.

Lindsay Cannaday and her son Ryan Stevenson, 10, wrote thank you notes to donors on postcards in an office. Almost every year they try to participate in service projects on MLK Day. By serving each year, Cannaday wants to show her son what organizations like Urban Dreams do and how they add value to communities, she said.

“Organizations like Urban Dreams have to continue to operate 24/7,” Cannaday said. “They don’t really get to shut down. So it’s important to support organizations that are continuing to support the community.”

Rhoderline Agyeman of Polk City decided to come to help because her husband knows Knox.

During her shift, she cleaned behind a printer and washed windows, among other tasks. In the past, she’s given out food for the organization.

“People come from all over to get help here,” Agyeman said. “Most people might think that it’s just the people that live very close to Urban Dreams, but people come from all over.”

Most Urban Dreams volunteers live close to the organization’s Des Moines office, Knox said. Urban Dreams’ Day of Service is a way to bring in people from outside its zip code, he said. 

“We’ll find out that most people that come to help today aren’t from this area,” Knox said. “This gives people a reason to drive into our community to see that it’s a good place to be.”

Throughout 2020, Urban Dreams gave away 35,000 to 40,000 meals, Knox said. The group also offers resources for outpatient substance abuse clients and for those charged with operating while intoxicated, workforce development services and mental health treatment.

The spring cleaning is not just for show. The Day of Service gives the organization a chance to catch up on chores and plays an important role in its operation, Knox said. 

“How often do we have time to clean the windows?” Knox said. “We send out a lot of thank you notes. It really helps to get those ready and available. It’s my staff’s favorite day of the year.”

Also on Monday, the John R. Grubb YMCA held its eighth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, an event held virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Honored at the breakfast were Odell McGhee, senior district court judge, legacy award; Kameron Middlebrooks, a leader of the Des Moines branch of the NAACP, adult award; and Lyric Sellers, who received the youth award.

Several speakers reflected on last summer’s protests after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington. 

Former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter, who gave the keynote address, said that about 25 years ago, he held a summer event in the same area where Floyd was killed. In reflecting on King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, he challenged listeners to check where they stand with their own dream and to help other people achieve their dreams, too.

“You should be proud of the things that we as a people stood for and how we must continue the movement,” Carter said. “It’s always the right time to protest peacefully.”

Justyn Lewis, president of Des Moines Selma, said he recently learned an extended cousin of his was lynched. When Lewis watched the attack on the Capitol, he said it reminded him of a mob storming a jailhouse to lynch an innocent person.

“I love the nation’s promises of all men were created equal,” Lewis said. “That’s what I hold to. But when I saw a mob of people who were upset with a false reality that their country was being taken away, that’s very triggering for any minority in this country.”

Philip Joens covers breaking news for The Des Moines Register. He can be reached at 515-443-3347 at pjoens@registermedia.com or on Twitter @Philip_Joens. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Indias sudden peace push with nuclear rivals China, Pak shows Biden impact – Business Standard

After a year of some of the worst fighting on India’s frontiers with Pakistan and China, a…