I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa

January 24, 2013 —

IMMAWIIHere’s a great way to kick off Black History Month: Attend the annual I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa (IMMAWII) event this Saturday at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. This year marks IMMAWII’s 15th anniversary, and it’s sure to be as educational and entertaining as ever.

IMMAWII celebrates diversity and highlights African American arts, culture and contributions to the community. This event was founded in 1998 and is named after a PBS documentary entitled “I’ll Make Me a World.” A challenge was issued to communities to develop programs such as those highlighted in the documentary. This challenge was embraced by a passionate group of individuals, and I’ll Make Me a World in Iowa was born.

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 26, at Hy-Vee Hall, 730 Third Street downtown. The event is free to the public. Attendees can expect to see a wide range of activities including arts, culture and music and enjoy delicious food. Headliners for this year include actor/singer Billy Dee Williams, actor Pooch Hall and Grammy Award-winning gospel music artist Lady Tramaine Hawkins.

Des Moines University has had a strong presence at IMMAWII dating back to 2003. Students have performed countless screening exams and provided many hands-on health-related activities to children attending the event. This year, in celebration of IMMAWII’s 15th anniversary, DMU has significantly increased the amount of involvement we will have that day. In the past, screenings have included vitals, cholesterol/glucose readings and body fat percentage. This year we will have students performing blood sugar readings, foot screenings, skin cancer screenings, height and weight measurements, blood pressure, body fat percentage, vision screenings and more! All services are free to attendees.

Another aspect of DMU’s involvement is the “Hands-On Health” area, designed specifically for kids to learn about different areas of health, wellness and careers in the health field. They can talk with DMU students and go through many different stations including dental, pediatric, lung health, ear health, pharmacy and more. In all, more than 150 DMU students will be participating in Saturday’s event.

DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., also will be on hand at the event to speak briefly regarding our commitment to IMMAWII and the importance of participating in such events. She will speak around 10 a.m. Saturday on the main stage.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a culturally diverse, fun, family-centered activity to attend, consider IMMAWII. I will be there, so stop by the DMU booths and say “hi.”


With a love for all things 80’s and an obsession for organizing, Melissa Wilder prefers to spend her time away from DMU scrapbooking, being outside, hanging out with her family, or reading a good book. Although on some winter days she dreads her 30 minute commute, she still looks forward to coming in and working with the exceptional people of DMU.

The university’s community relations manager, Melissa spends her days scheduling and organizing events, responding to requests, and looking for opportunities that help DMU’s students and employees ‘give back’ to the great city of Des Moines.