Breaking News
More () »

Community leaders discuss the importance of giving back

Leaders with Urban Dreams and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa reflect on the impact volunteering can have.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Making an impact in others' lives through mentoring and volunteering is how two community members give back to the area they live in.

This Black History Month, Local 5 is highlighting those leaders.

Inside of Urban Dreams, one can find volunteers hard at work, prepared to help the community. One of the first noticeable acts of giving is people passing out food. 

The organization also offers counseling services, school initiatives in conjunction with Des Moines Public Schools and a substance abuse program that focuses on helping people who have received an OWI.

"We role model positive behavior, right," Executive Director Izaah Knox said. "We try to be what we think people in the community should be and look like and demonstrate and show and be productive members of the community."

Knox has been involved with Urban Dreams off and on for about 10 years. 

He started volunteering to be part of the change and now wants to show those who use the organization it can give them exactly what they need.

"I mean [I'm] authentically engaged in this community in a way that I feel like when I sit on my porch people feel like they can come and talk to me," Knox said. "But when I also sit on my front porch I watch people walk by and I'm like what can I do today to make it better for them."

Another person in the community who is big on helping others is Renee Hardman, the CEO for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa

She is no longer in that role but now has a greater impact, like making sure the business runs smoothly and recruiting more mentors. 

"Our statistics show that our boys, African American, boys are on the waiting list longer," Hardman said. "We have a waiting list of a little over 100 …waiting for an African American male to decide that they want to use some discretionary time to be in that person's life."

That's something she hopes changes soon. Both organizations are always looking for volunteers and more help. 

To find out how you can help, click below:

Download the We Are Iowa app
Sign up for Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter
Subscribe to Local 5 News on YouTube

Watch: Majority of Iowa hotels, motels have not met human trafficking training requirements, report says

Before You Leave, Check This Out