Over the next three years, Junior League of Des Moines (JLDM) is making the care of teenage girls in the foster care system its community issue focus. JLDM selected this issue after multiple community conversations demonstrated a need for foster families for children of all ages, specifically the unique challenges with placing teenage girls. More than 9.700 Iowa children were in the foster care system in 2017, according to the Iowa Department of Human Services. JLDM members started volunteering with local organizations, including YESS, and the group continues to explore additional opportunities for its members to get involved and make an an impact.
Junior League of Des Moines began partnering with YESS in the spring of 2018. Once a month, JLDM members come to YESS to spend time with the teenage girls in the emergency shelter. It's a volunteer night the girls always look forward to and a fun way to relax through activities like going to a movie, arts and crafts, and Zumba classes.
“It’s been a wonderful experience, getting to meet and spend time with the young women at YESS. Whether it was dancing Zumba, doing crafts, or just talking about our day, the connection has been a privilege to experience. The young women are bright, determined, hilarious, and kind. And I am thankful that they let us into their world,” said JLDM member, Monika Owczarski.
“Through my experiences volunteering at YESS, it is clear that the staff truly care about the those staying at the facility and work hard to help them thrive,” said JLDM member, Sarah Biermann. “Volunteering at YESS has given me a glimpse into the activities taking place at the organization and the positive impact they are making in the families of our community. Amazing things are happening at YESS!”