It takes more than the 5,000+ employees of the state’s largest school district to meet the challenge of serving 33,000+ students.

It takes help from corporate community partners who supplement their neighborhood school’s inadequate budget.

It takes high school students logging hours toward silver community service cords to accessorize their gowns at graduation.

And it takes a lot of individuals who raise their hands when the call goes out for volunteers at schools in need of everything from food pantry clerks to tutors.

Tuesday, DMPS recognized the service of volunteers at six designated elementary Community Schools (King, Capitol View, Moulton, Monroe, Lovejoy, and McKinley) in a luncheon held at Plymouth Congregational Church.

Words Taylor, who coordinates the district’s half-pint poetry programming, was the keynote speaker and Roosevelt High’s gospel choir, Bridges to Harmony, also performed.

Taylor told the guests of honor about the special rolls his grandmother always baked for Thanksgiving.

“She loved to watch people bite into them,” he said. “She wanted to see them smile and people would often ask her what the secret, special ingredient was that made them so good.”

The moral of the story was the revelation of the secret, special ingredient. What made the rolls so good was simply Grandma’s desire to spread joy.

“You guys are the secret, special ingredient at our schools,” Taylor told the volunteers. “Nobody knows about you, but I’m here as living proof that you make a difference. I am the product of volunteers like you who take the time to take an interest in kids who need that.”

The appreciation behind the two-hour event is sincere but token when you consider it against these broad measures of community support in 2017-18:

  • Volunteer hours contributed at Community School sites: 7,095
  • High school students participating in silver cord: 1,852
  • High school silver cord hours to date: 61,969

If you’re interested in volunteering next year at a local school that could use your help, contact:

Jill Padgett | Community School Coordinator
Des Moines Public Schools
2100 Fleur Drive | Des Moines, Iowa 50321
515-242-8364 |

Community Schools Volunteer Recognition Celebration

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