For the fourth year in a row, IPI is pleased to donate items to a non-profit organization via the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute's (GDMLI) Community Leadership Program. This year's project involves custom furnishings for an art studio at Iowa Homeless Youth Center's (IHYC) Youth Opportunity Center, which is scheduled to open soon in downtown Des Moines.
IHYC works to eliminate homelessness among children, youth and young mothers in Polk County, specifically serving youth ages 16 to 21. The new Youth Opportunity Center will provide a safe place for youth to find refuge and connect with vital community resources. It will also house a brand-new art program for the youth. This art space will provide IHYC staff a new way to interact with and build relationships with the at-risk youth. For the youth, art is a tool for self-expression and a coping skill.
This year, I have been privileged to be a class member of the GDMLI Community Leadership Program and a part of the IHYC art space team. We wanted to furnish the room so that it functioned much like an art studio while giving the youth the opportunity to work privately, in small groups or in larger classes led by staff or volunteers. We needed highly flexible, mobile furniture. I worked with our Custom Wood shop to develop custom folding art horses and art easels for the space. The Metal Furniture shop produced flip-top tables and metal shelving; each on casters. IPI's generous donation of furniture allowed IHYC to use available funds for a substantial amount of art supplies for the space.