Des Moines University students are passionate about promoting healthy, active lifestyles to local youth. For several years, the Iowa Medical Society (AMA/IMS) student organization has worked with other student clubs to host “Mission: Active,” an on-campus event geared to inspire kids to get moving and take charge of their health.
Despite well-planned activities and a strong showing of student volunteers, marketing Mission: Active to families was a challenge. As attendance declined, the time came to decide: Abandon the goals of the event, or evolve it?
Enter, the John R. Grubb Community YMCA, and their “Healthy Kids Day,” which regularly attracts hundreds of youth, but was in need of volunteers and excited to bring on expanded activities. Healthy Kids Day provided the perfect opportunity to get DMU students off campus and into the neighborhood of the youth they’d hoped to reach with Mission: Active.
The Healthy Kids Day partnership was organized by the Iowa Medical Society (AMA/IMS) with the support of other clubs and the Community Relations department. The DMU presence brought anatomical specimens, nutrition activities and healthy snacks; blood pressure screenings for adults; helmet safety demonstrations; sports; and the chance for kids to learn more about what’s in a doctor’s bag.
More than 500 individuals participated in the event, and numerous community partners contributed. A huge draw for families was a bicycle giveaway presented by Variety — The Children’s Charity. Despite the rain, the YMCA was a bustle of activity.
Strong community partnerships connect the needs of local organizations with the enthusiasm and expertise of DMU students.
“Hopefully, this is something that will become an ongoing project and a staple for AMA/IMS, DMU, and Grubb YMCA,” said Natalie Kral, D.O. ’17, who helped organize the event.