2015 grant Recipients
Muscular Dystrophy Association
$5,260 for camperships so 10 children can attend MDA Camp at Camp Courageous.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) works in communities to comeback neuromuscular disease through basic and applied scientific investigation, comprehensive programs of medical services and clinical care, and professional and public health education.
The MDA Summer Camp is a core program of MDA that has been in existence for 60 years. Camp is a special week for children with any neuromuscular disease to be like other kids. Many campers refer to this week as “the best week of the year.” Activities are specifically designed for young people who have mobility challenges. This is a week where the word disability is replaced with ability. Camp includes horseback riding, canoeing, swimming, zip lining, tree climbing, ice cream making, train rides, bike rides, arts & crafts, nature hikes, animal petting, and more!
Science Center of Iowa
$5,000 for Sensory Night, an evening designed to accommodate Autistic children and their families.
Science education has been a cornerstone of Science Center of Iowa (SCI) since it incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 1966. SCI engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning. SCI’s new Sensory Night experience will provide children with autism and special needs access to the facility in a modified, more comfortable environment.
Sensory Night will have limited attendance to minimize crowds. Lighting will be softened and sound will be lowered in select areas. “Cool down” spaces will be provided where children can go to readjust if they become overstimulated or uncomfortable. Registration will be required so that a particular ratio of children to SCI staff can be obtained. Additionally, SCI is seeking help from Autism Speaks and Easter Seals of Iowa to understand even more what specific adjustments can be made to meet their particular needs.
Young Women’s Resource Center
Accessible main entrance facility doors
$2,500 for ADA compliant main entrance doors.
Since 1978, the Young Women’s Resource Center (YWRC) has been providing gender specific programming for girls in the Greater Des Moines area. YWRC offers small group and individual support focused on self-esteem, healthy relationships and reproductive health. Teem moms receive additional support focused on parenting skills and education. YWRC programming is free, confidential and voluntary to all young women ages 10-21. RMHC is supporting a specific need to improve YWRC’s accessibility for young women growing up with a physical handicap to on-site After School and Summer groups.
Broadlawns Medical Center
Family Birthing Center
$4,150 for baby take home kits with sleep sacks to reduce SIDS.
The Family Birthing Center at Broadlawns Medical Center serves a very diverse population. On any given day, over 44 different languages are spoken at the center. The primary goal of the Family Birthing Center is to ensure the newest citizens to the community are welcomed into a world of compassion and support, in an environment that is both nurturing to them and their family.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using wearable blankets, along with placing babies on their backs to sleep, as a safe sleeping method in assisting in the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). “Sleep Sacks” replace loose blankets in the crib. Broadlawns not only uses sleep sacks in the nursery but sends all new parents home with a sleep sack in the baby kit to encourage this continued safety measure after going home.
New Directions Shelter
$4,000 for playground improvements
Hawthorn Hill has been a nonprofit in Des Moines since 1978. Since 1990, their New Directions Shelter program has been serving homeless families in need with an opportunity for a better future. Besides just being an emergency shelter, Hawthorn Hill provides healthy meals and snacks; clothing and laundry facilities; counseling and advocacy for families; housing, childcare and employment assistance; eligible public benefits application assistance, healthcare resources assistance, and help setting up a new functioning household. RMHC is helping Hawthorn Hill improve and enlarge the children’s playground at the shelter.
Child Future International
Multicultural Educational Program
$2,000 for supplies for a summer program focusing on STEM, Arts and Reading.
Child Future International, Inc. (CFI) was established in 2013 in order to support the African Refugee and Immigrant population in Polk County. They develop and deliver a range of programs that contribute to the improved quality of life for African refugee and immigrant youth and their families. CFI works to help youth acclimate to the social norms of the greater society, while maintaining a cultural identity; access and succeed in academic and technical education pursuits; acquire goods and services necessary to family life, like housing, social assistance, etc.; and advocate for academic success and achievement for youth by encouraging STEM disciplines, reducing dropout rates, improve reading skills, and employment instruction.
Camp Fire Heart of Iowa
Renovated swimming pool at Camp Hantesa
$3,300 for a sun shade awning for a pool renovation
Camp Fire has been actively serving the youth of central Iowa since 1913. All programs our designed to help young people find their way to adulthood learning self-sufficiency skills along the way, guided by trained and caring role models. Camp Fire is committed to fighting “summer slide” so they have added literacy and STEM curricula to their summer programs. In addition, they’re helping kids with life-long personal safety skills for swimming and boating by teaching hundreds of kids each year how to swim and be safe in the water. Their pool is in great need of a renovation and RMHC contributed money to help pay for the sun shade awning structure that will be located on the sun deck.
2014 grant Recipients
$1,000 to assist with a kitchen renovation at Camp Sunnyside
Camp Sunnyside has become known throughout the community as a place where people of all abilities can come together to have a fun and meaningful summer camp experience. Since 1962, individuals with disabilities have been welcomed at camp and have increased self-esteem, ability and hope. The services offered at Camp Sunnyside make it possible for families to stay together and for individuals to continue to live independently in our Iowa communities.
Everyday at camp, the kitchen staff is hard at work making healthy delicious food for the people they serve. Whether that be feeding two meals and two snacks every day all year long to the children at the Child Development Center or serving big breakfasts, lunches and dinners to their respite and summer campers. At any given time, kitchen staff at Camp Sunnyside may need to prepare up to 50 specialized meals due to the very special dietary needs of campers. This can be difficult to do in the most modern of kitchens, but especially difficult in an old, outdated, non air-conditioned space. RMHC’s support will help reach their goal to renovate their kitchen.
Timber Creek Charities
Horse Riding Therapy
$1,350 for horse riding therapy services for disabled children.
Timber Creek Charities assists children and adults who do no have adequate insurance or personal funds to receive therapy or therapeutic services at Timber Creek Therapies. Timber Creek Therapies is an outpatient facility where patients receive therapy services using innovative tools not found in most therapy centers. 2014 is the 13th year offering hippotherapy (equine-assisted physical and speech/language therapies,) and the 12th year offering hydrotherapy (warm, moving water physical therapy.) Equine-assisted psychotherapy and equine=assisted learning, which incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning was added in 2013. Other more traditional therapies and therapeutic riding also are available.
RMHC’s support will be used as grants to individual children so they can receive speech/language, physical, occupational, and equine-assisted or therapeutic riding.
$8,235 to assist with the renovation of a bathroom at Aliber or Bright Houses.
Orchard Place has served Iowa’s children since 1886. It is the oldest locally-based charity in Des Moines. Orchard Place works with many of the state’s most emotionally troubled children, providing inpatient, outpatient and community-based services by highly skilled child therapists and caseworkers in an effort to help children develop strong futures. In 2014, Orchard Place served 9,830 children and youth ages 0-22.
Children receiving comprehensive psychiatric care at Orchard Place Campus at 925 Porter Avenue in Des Moines, reside in five houses, with each house providing a temporary home to approximately 24 children. Facility issues that contribute to a less than optimal living atmosphere for children create unwelcoming and uncomfortable living environments for youth and staff. RMHC’s support will help renovate a bathroom at Aliber or Bright Houses which were last renovated 20 years ago. Since that time, more than 1,500 children have used them while in residence.
Special Olympics Iowa
Young Athletes Play Days
$1,000 for the Young Athletes Play Activity Days.
Special Olympics Iowa sports competitions and specialized programs give athletes continued opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage and build self-confidence. Special Olympics is a global movement which, through high-quality sports training and competition, improves the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and in turn, the lives or everyone they touch.
The Young Athletes Play Days will provide young children with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop socialization, coordination and strength-building skills. These skills are instrumental in developing an awareness of self-worth and self-confidence that empower the children and their families to have a strong sense of optimism about their bright futures. The Young Athletes Play Days Program will be used as a tool to introduce Special Olympics to new families across the state. This program is an effective way to provide meaningful and much-needed services while introducing families to the vast array of other programs and services that will be available to their children as they grow.
Boone County 4-H
Safe barn and equipment
$1,000 to help build a new facility for 4-H youth raising cattle.
4-H has a long history of innovation and community impact. From its inception in 1902, 4-H Youth Development has been creating opportunities for young people to learn about the natural world, technology, themselves, and their communities. The mission of ISU Extension to Youth and 4-H is to create supportive environments for culturally diverse youth and adults to reach their full potential. 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Youth in grade 4 through grade 12 have the opportunity to learn about a wide range of topics and to develop key life skills while they make friends and have fun. As members of local 4-H clubs, youth can participate in their county fair, the Iowa State Fair, workshops, trips, conferences, and special events with local clubs and youth throughout the state.
Good facilities play a major role in safely handling livestock. Properly constructed facilities allow livestock producers to perform routine chores while also providing a means of controlling and restraining cattle. This project would include constructing corrals, holding pens and weighing facilities with the safety of the livestock and the livestock owner in mind. By having the proper facilities, planning ahead, using good judgment, and understanding animal behavior, a safe environment can be achieved for all. Currently there is no such proper equipment and volunteers and 4-H participants have been hurt in the past when working with this group of cattle in this project area. RMHC’s support will help build a proper barn and equipment that would eliminate this threat.
Mercy Foundation of Des Moines
Heart Surgery Books
$807 for printing 25 What to Expect books to be distributed to parents and families of children who will be going through cardiac surgery
Mercy Children’s Hospital & Clinics is guided by its core values of concern for children and families, comprehensive services, collaboration with others and provision of innovative services. The hospital averages over 27,000 pediatric inpatient and outpatient admissions each year. Mercy and Iowa Heart Center are the only providers of pediatric heart surgery in central Iowa performing 125 heart surgeries annually.
Children and their parents coming to the hospital for heart surgery are in a state of high stress and anxiety. The more the hospital can educate and prepare both the child and their parents on what to expect before, during and after surgery the better the outcomes. This project supports the production costs for 25 copies of a customized book given to pediatric heart patients and their families who are undergoing heart surgery or a heart-related procedure.
Family Resource Center
Emergency Crisis Respite Care
$2,000 to provide emergency and crisis care respite for families with mentally disabled children
The Carroll County Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse was organized in 1981 by parents and community members who recognized a need not being met – to help strengthen families and improve the safety of children in the area. In 1985 after their non-profit tax exempt status was granted they shortened their name to Family Resource Center to reflect a wider service area. The objective of this program is to serve families who have children with disabilities and, in some cases, siblings as well. Another objective is to reduce the stress in the families by giving them a break from the everyday challenges of caring for a child with special needs. Some of these families are currently on waiting lists to receive waiver services through the state. These children are eligible for waiver services, however, the wait list in Iowa is long, sometimes close to a year or longer.
The First Tee of Greater Des Moines
National School Program
$1,600 to purchase training, curriculum and equipment.
The First Tee of Greater Des Moines is a non-profit life skills and golf skills chapter of The First Tee International which is located in St. Augustine Florida. Its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. The First Tee has been in existence since 1997 serving youth kindergarten through age seventeen. The First Tee of Greater Des Moines serves over 9,000 youth annually in its outreach, summer certification, winter and National School programs. They have implemented their National School Program in 12 elementary schools in the Des Moines Metro with a goal to implement the program in the remaining schools within the next five years.
Best Buddies Iowa
Best Buddies Prom
$3,000 for Best Buddies Iowa Prom
Best Buddies Iowa (BBIA) opened its doors in 2002, and is a state affiliate of Best Buddies International. BBIA serves over 1,420 students in 25 different chapters throughout the state. With over 330 one-to-one friendships this year, each one of its chapters has spread firsthand awareness amongst peers and educators. From 2010 to 2014, BBIA received 11 international awards from Best Buddies International for outstanding programs.
The Best Buddies Iowa Prom will be a chance for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to end the year like the rest of their peers with a school prom. The evening includes a dinner, dancing to music provided by a DJ, a professional photographer who will later provide attendees with pictures, and a photo booth for attendees to take their own candid shots home. Awards will even be given for a king and queen from each school. RMHC’s support will help build the friendships which already exist while providing an opportunity for new friendships to bloom.
Amanda the Panda
Family Grief Center
$2,614 for meals, t-shirts, gifts, and activities for the 2014 Camp Amanda.
Amanda the Panda’s mission is to restore grieving children and families back into the mainstream of their lives through innovative services that provide hope and healing. Camp Amanda is the first and longest running camp in the United States for grieving children and teens. It’s a unique haven where any grieving individual of 6 and older is sure to find a peer who is experiencing some similar changes and challenges in their life. Camp Amanda can take an entire family to a new level on their grief journey.
The Child Life Department at Blank Children’s Hospital
Creative Arts Therapy
$5,000 for assorted musical instruments to be incorporated into the new Creative Arts Therapy Program.
The Child Life Department at Blank operates 18 hours a day 7 days a week. The Child Life staff are one of the many things that make Blank Children’s Hospital so special to children and families being treated. They use many tools to help kids feel comfortable and better understand what they are going through. The Creative Arts Therapy program aims to positively impact children and adolescents while providing an optimal healing and caring environment during their stay. Research has shown that music has a profound effect on the body and music therapy will help with pain management, depression, movement, muscle tension, among many other benefits.
Des Moines Bike Collective
Cycling / Public Health
$5,000 to the 2014 Neighborhood Bicycle Rodeo program for helmets, bike gear, repair equipment, etc.
The 2014 Neighborhood Bicycle Rodeo program aims to expand bicycle safety education for children, particularly in concert with bike give-away events in low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods and schools. Bicycle safety education is particularly important for children, who have developmental characteristics that influence how they handle their bikes and make them more susceptible to accidents. The program will provide a fun and engaging format for children to actively learn and practice the primary bicycle handling skills and traffic concepts that will help them develop safer biking practices.
Broadlawns Medical Center Foundation
$6,696 to purchase a Size 0 Dental X-Ray Sensor for Children at the Department of Oral Medicine’s Dental Clinic.
The sensor creates a digital image from x-ray doses that can be immediately visible on a screen connected through a standard USB port. Before, the Dental Clinic was using traditional x-rays instead of digital for the children it serves. The digital x-rays can now be easily incorporated into electronic medical records and shared with the Pediatric Medical Clinic allowing better comprehensive health care for all children.
Children’s Cancer Connection
$7,500 for a Black Hole Slide at Y Camp.
The Y-Camp in Boone, IA is home to Children’s Cancer Connection’s Camp Heart Connection program. Each year, 300 children touched by childhood cancer are able to spend a week away from the harsh realities the disease has brought to their lives. Oncology Campers are able to experience all the things healthy children take for granted, including horseback riding, swimming, and arts & crafts. Sibling Campers have the opportunity to connect with other siblings who have experienced the same feelings of anger, grief, guilt, and loss. The new Black Hole Slide is to give children another activity to enjoy while attending summer camp. This addition is a permanent fixture and will provide children with a fun recreational outlet for years to come.
2011 grant Recipients
Specialized teaching and support to individuals with Down syndrome
GiGi’s Playhouse is a Down syndrome awareness and educational center that provides resources, specialized teaching and support to individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the community!
2010 grant Recipients
Funds were provided for Camp Amanda, a program of Amanda the Panda. Camp Amanda is a weekend grief camp to restore grieving children and families back into the mainstream of their lives through innovative services that provide hope and healing.
Everybody Wins! Iowa
Mentoring & Literacy
We provided funds for Power Lunch, Everybody Wins! Iowa’s signature program. Through Power Lunch, volunteer reading mentors visit schools and work one-on-one with students for one lunch hour each week. Students come from disadvantaged families, homes where English is a Second language, single parent homes and from other circumstance where literacy is not or cannot be a priority. This program matches a mentor with a student. The philosophy is simple, “One Student. One Mentor. One Book at a Time.”
Children & Families of Iowa
Early Childhood Development Services
Funds will provide school age appropriate activities for children within CFI’s Early Childhood Development Services. This program serves 60 children between the ages of 5 and 12.
Friends of Des Moines Parks
Funds provided to Friends of Des Moines Parks will be used for swimming lesson scholarships for low income children.
Bright Kavanagh House
We provided funds for the Children’s Room at Bright Kavanagh House. The play room will be used in many ways to meet the needs of grieving children in the community. Children have many questions about the death and dying process and a special bereavement program is designed to help children better understand what’s happening to their family.
Wildwood Hills Ranch
We provided funds for scholarships for the Ranch’s free character, leadership and teamwork programming this year. The Ranch provides free youth development and therapy programs for at-risk youth.