In its 5th year, the Iowa Youth Congress is a civic leadership development opportunity for Iowa high school students. With a special emphasis on recruitment of minority students, the program reaches out through regional meetings to teach students about developing policy issues from grassroots ideas, collaborating across diverse populations, and contributing to public life. The IYC culminates in a Mock General Assembly for 100 students, who prioritize their issues and debate various points of view.
To give students a deeper and more relevant appreciation of women's role in history, the Office on the Status of Women, the Iowa Department of Education, and the State Historical Society of Iowa are sponsoring the 27th annual statewide essay contest,"Write Women Back Into History", for students in grades 6 – 9. The 2011 theme is "Our History is Our Strength." Our shared history unites families, communities, and nations. Although women's history is intertwined with the history shared with men, several factors - social, religious, economic, and biological - have worked to create a unique sphere of women's history. Learning about women's tenacity, courage, and creativity throughout the centuries is a tremendous source of strength.
The Iowa Commission on the Status of African-Americans is accepting nominations for the following awards:
Nomination forms must be postmarked by December 5, 2010.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a federal grant program designed to reduce home heating and cooling costs for low-income persons, particularly the elderly, disabled, and families with young children by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. Indoor air quality and other health and safety issues are also addressed. The program uses trained crews and contractors and the most advanced technologies and testing protocols available in the housing industry.
The installation of energy efficiency, health, and safety measures for each dwelling is based on a computerized energy audit which determines the cost effectiveness of each measure. Measures may include high density wall and attic insulation, blower door-guided infiltration reduction, and furnace repair or replacement.
A household is eligible for assistance if the household is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Family Investment Program (FIP) Assistance, or if the household’s annual income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.
Deaf and hard of hearing students from the Des Moines Public Schools – East and Lincoln High School worked with the Iowa School for the Deaf in planning this event with the advice and help from Don Miksell, President of Iowa Association of the Deaf (IAD) and Suzy Mannella and Stephanie Lyons both from Deaf Service Commission of Iowa (DSCI).
It was a very exciting day seeing several students meeting with their legislators and interacting with each other. They were hearing, D/deaf and hard of hearing from all over the state from the school for the deaf, mainstreamed programs, and home-schooled co-op programs.
There were booths and/or information from the Iowa School for the Deaf (ISD), Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS), Iowa Association of the Deaf (IAD), Deaf Services Commission of Iowa (DSCI), Telephone Access Iowa (TAI), Relay Iowa, Early Detection and Hearing Intervention (EDHI), Governor Disabilities Council - IDACTION, and Central Iowa Hearing Loss Association of America (CI-HLAA).
The Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development (ICYD) Council members are leaders of 10 state agencies with the vision that “All Iowa youth will be safe, healthy, successful, and prepared for adulthood”. Since becoming a formalized council, ICYD Council members agreed that the collaborative efforts should target a specific and aggressive goal for the state: By 2020 Iowa will increase the graduation rate from 89% to 95%. Several issues (e.g. substance abuse, family, employment, and mental health) prevent many youth from graduating from high school. The ICYD Council work to address these issues as individual agencies and together as a team to maximize efficiency in state government, make the best use of existing resources, and create substantial and lasting positive changes for Iowa’s youth.
Currently, the ICYD Council is partnering with the Department of Education in the implementation of two federal grants (Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools and the Iowa State Agencies Supporting Safe Schools). The goals of these grants are to enhance collaboration between state agencies; build capacity and the statewide infrastructure to prevent youth substance use and violence; and support statewide targeted programmatic interventions to improve school safety and reduce substance abuse.
The “Rural Homeless Youth” (RHY) demonstration project is a 5-year grant, which started October 1, 2008, from the Federal Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) for $200,000 per year. The focus is on young people ages 16-21 in rural areas who have few or no connections to family and community supports and are at risk of becoming homeless or are homeless. The purpose of the grant is to improve the services and supports for these youth. Boone is the demonstration’s pilot site and Youth and Shelter Services (YSS) is the local collaborating partner.
The overarching goal of the project is to increase “connections” for youth in three critical areas of development:
A prior study committee identified the arrest of youth in the school setting as one of the highest areas of minority overrepresentation in juvenile justice system decision making. For example, minority youth comprise 35 percent of the combined high school student population for the Des Moines, Sioux City, and Waterloo School Districts, and 46 percent of the arrests in those schools (2006-07 Des Moines, Sioux City, and Waterloo, Police Departments - High School Arrest Data).
As a result, a committee charged with implementing recommendations from the study committee developed a sample cooperative agreement (CA) to be shared with local jurisdictions. The CA is an attempt to assist defining the roles of schools, law enforcement, private providers, and the courts in relation to the referral of youth from the school setting to the juvenile court. A key aspect of the school-to-court effort will involve the collection standardized data across the multiple sites. A state-level provider, the University of Iowa, is contractually required to assit with the local data collection effort.
As part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's national Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), three Iowa counties (Black Hawk, Polk, and Woodbury) are participating to reform juvenile detention practices, such as instituting standard screening practices with staffing and support from the Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning. Since 2007, Iowa's statewide juvenile detention reduction effort has reduced the number of youth placed in detention statewide by 34% and by nearly 50% in Black Hawk and Polk Counties, without compromising public safety.