Abigail Adkison  
Home School, Newton

Heart To Hands
I will organize an event to raise human trafficking awareness, educate my local community on ways to get involved, and provide a hands-on opportunity to assemble gift bags to be given to human trafficking recovery homes in our area.  These gift bags will contain new items donated by local businesses and community members and will be given to the women in the recovery homes for birthday gifts and other special occasions.

Harmony Barrick
Louisa-Muscatine, Letts

A Modern View
I want to start a youtube channel and make videos on topics I think people need to know how to do. I have classmates always talking about how they can do geometry, but they don’t know how to do other things, like financials. When I think about life after high school, it stresses me out. I think about having to have a means of transport and how I go about that. If I want a car, what is the process you have to go through to get one and be able to legally drive it? How do I go about getting a job, and where do I put the money I’ve earned? Should I put it in a bank? How do I go about banking? What is the process for renting or owning a home in certain areas? My goal is to create an accessible library of how to videos tailored to students in my area. These videos will be a quick reference for all of the questions students have about life after high school in a format they are familiar with.

Kennedy Bombei
Solon High School,  Solon

Student Volunteer Connections
My project is to create an app that will allow students to easily find and connect with local organizations looking for volunteers. At Solon High School, many students attempt to earn a Silver Cord at graduation signifying the completion of a specified number of volunteer hours during their high school careers. At my school however, many students do not complete all the required hours to receive this recognition due to the difficulty that often comes with finding volunteer opportunities that fit with their schedules. Another difficulty that comes with this is that the paperwork needed for the service hours to count must be completed prior to the student’s actual participation. This problem is one that I believe can be solved and simplified by the use of technology. My app would provide a platform where all local volunteer needs can be found, allowing for students to view all of these opportunities in one single area. The dates and times as well as contact information for each organization would also be available on my app. Making these volunteer openings easily accessible would increase the amount of students who participate in Silver Cord, and in turn improve the community as a result of the increased amount of service hours completed.

Jack Chism    
Ballard High School, Huxley

Stem Carnival      
As chair of the committee I am putting together an inaugural STEM Carnival for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at the Ballard East Elementary School through my student council. The STEM Carnival will have many activities that incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The student council members that are a part of STEM Carnival will lead the participants through a variety of activities. The elementary students will build towers out of marshmallows and toothpicks, build lego boats that float and make aerodynamic paper airplanes for engineering activities. For science activities, the kids will make oobleck from cornstarch and water to observe how the oobleck can show the properties of solid and liquid, place oil and water in cups to see how the polar water and nonpolar oil can’t mix. The dry ice demonstration will show simple chemistry and a water cohesion experiment  would have the kids use pipettes to place as much water as possible on pennies. For technology and math activities I will do a drone demonstration and my committee’s co-chair will have the kids develop a simple computer coding program. My goal with this STEM Carnival is to give elementary students the chance to spark an interest in STEM and establish a service opportunity that will be available to future student council members after I graduate.

Alexander Drahos
Linn-Mar High School, Cedar Rapids

Access Iowa
Internet connection is a necessity in modern America. However, many Iowans are left with inadequate broadband. In the coming months, I am putting together a team of individuals and organizations to advocate for increasing funding to the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program to $15 million by 2021. This will build broadband infrastructure in rural areas, ensuring all Iowans are connected to the 21st century.

Emalyn Foster  
Solon High School, Iowa City

Planting the Seeds of Sustainability
My project, Planting the Seeds of Sustainability, aims to educate younger students about living sustainably and growing their own food. I am going to install a school garden at my elementary school that will be run by the before-and-after school program (kindergarten-4th graders) throughout the summer. We will be growing different fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, and peppers as well as sunflowers and different herbs. About ten years ago, there was a school garden that produced enough food to include in the summer lunches, and I would like to see that happen this year as well. We will also implement a simple composting system that can be used to fertilize the rest of the garden. Composting is something that the rest of my school district could easily start doing, and I am hopeful that this project will serve as a “test-run.” In addition to the garden, there will be other food or earth related activities that the kids can participate in to further expand their knowledge.

Parker Johnson   
Valley High School, West Des Moines

My Art, My Story: Artistic Perspectives of Youth Refugees
I will organize and host an art exhibition for the art of young refugee students around the Des Moines area.  By displaying pieces made by students from many different backgrounds in a show open to everyone, I hope to illuminate the diverse cultural makeup of our community, allow youth artists to present their work to a larger audience and provide them with a platform from which to tell their unique stories as refugees through art.

Dorothy Junginger
Valley High School, West Des Moines

Play for Plenty: A Series of Community Music Benefit Concerts   
I have always had a passion for classical music and community service. In creating this project, I strove to weave those and the leadership skills I have learned through the years in the musical activities I have done together into a music service project. I will create an organization called Play for Plenty that coordinates small concerts in the community. Attendees or other members of the general public will donate money or food, and all donations will go to the Food Bank of Iowa for food insecure families in my community and surrounding communities. I will set up performances in places that are commonly traversed, including either Jordan Creek Town Center or Valley West mall, which I have played in before, and the Cowles Commons in downtown Des Moines. Other places I will apply to have my organization play at include the Iowa Farmer’s Market and Jingle in the Junction. These concerts in public places for general passersby will involve chamber music groups I am in through Valley High School and the Des Moines Symphony Academy, and I will also invite professional and student musicians I have worked with to play. In addition to putting on two or more casual concerts and setting up stations where people can donate while stopping to watch or passing by, I will organize a sit-down concert at a church or in the Valley High School Performing Arts Center during the early months of the 2020-2021 school year. I will heavily advertise this concert and invite people to attend to support the cause of feeding Iowa’s people in need.

Blythe Kelly
Home School, Urbandale

Warming the Heart and Sole
My project, Warming the Heart and Sole, will positively impact the  homeless community in Iowa. My goal for this project is to collect over 3,500 pairs of new socks for homeless youth and adults in Iowa. I will do this by hosting a sock drive, Spring in Your Step, and by contacting two large sock manufacturers, Bombas and Society Socks, for donations. I want to bring Iowa one step closer to a triumph over poverty, and as Herbert Hoover said, “In America today, we are nearer a final triumph over poverty than as any other land.”

Elizabeth Low   
Linn-Mar High School, Marion

Cooking up Success
Cooking Up Success is the name of a community-based project in Marion that I am planning to put into effect this summer. This program will introduce free nutrition education and simple cooking skills to students(grades 5-9) from the Marion and Linn Mar Community School District with the purpose of equipping them with the ability to prepare simple and healthy meals for themselves in a cost effective way. These weekly sessions will be held at the Marion Youth Coalition Center and will be divided and organized based on age appropriate skill. I will not be the only one directing these sessions as they will also be taught by health and culinary professional volunteers from the local Marion community. The goal of this project is for students to learn how to prepare simple foods with high nutritional value so that they can avoid consuming processed and low nutrient foods throughout the summer. In doing so, I hope that they are able to learn healthy eating habits and avoid present and future health issues like obesity, diabetes and depression. In this way, my larger goal for this project is to improve the health and well-being of my city, Marion.

Garrett Meyer   
Newell-Fonda High School, Newell

Apple Orchard Renovation
Allee Iowa State Research Farm, Newell, IA, 16 tree apple orchard will be renovated by myself, the Newell Boosting Achievers club leaders and fellow 4-H members. With the help of the ISU Research Farm manager and the Buena Vista County Master Gardeners, we will be trained in pruning, fungicide and timing of pesticide application, and harvesting along with other practices to revive and keep the orchard healthy. The training will be passed to new 4-H members every year as a club community project. Our club could have the opportunity to the follow the research farm aspect and do research with the trees. Opportunity and financial assistant for compounds and equipment to use on the orchard are available through the county and college research funds. We would be given the support to try different fungicides and try some trees with no compounds for an organic experience.

Hannah Pautz
Muscatine High School, Muscatine

Muskie Voices
My project will create a middle school speech and debate program in Muscatine aligned with the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA). The NSDA has nine main events. The program will hold weekly practices to both educate students on these events and provide the opportunity to perform in them. In this way, students will gain a broad foundational understanding of speech and debate. Students will be given the opportunity to perform for their parents and other community members. In addition, they will be able to compete at the NSDA national tournament. The overall goal of this project is to equip students with the ability to face the challenge of public speaking and succeed.

Corbin Pilch
Ankeny High School, Ankeny

Autism Works
My project is to form a support group of high school and middle school students who are diagnosed with high functioning Autism, like myself. Though every person diagnosed with Autism is different, frequently we share a common characteristic which includes poor social skills, which can create difficulties in many parts of our lives. My goal is to help us become more socially appropriate and employable and attractive to colleges by bringing in speakers and professionals who will work with the group and provide input and feedback to members. I have been diagnosed with Autism and feel I can offer personal experiences and tips to the middle schoolers. I’m hoping to have other high schoolers help mentor the younger students as well. I believe this mentoring experience will enhance our communication skills for use during college or job interviews as well as provide valuable support to the younger kids.

Tatelyn Schultz
Creston High School, Creston

The Endangered Youth
I will be creating a mural in Creston Iowa. There are currently sixteen public murals in Creston, I plan to change that number to seventeen. My artwork will showcase endangered species in Iowa, both plants and animals. By focusing exclusively on the species in Iowa I hope to draw more Iowans to the mural and by doing that I think It will make them realize we too are a part of the problem not just other parts of the world. ; ; I will also be incorporating minors who are in need or earning community service hours. By doing this I aim to give them a sense of union. I want them to feel that they are not alone or an outcast but a part of something larger. I want the youth to realize that we need them in order to make a difference. I also want these kids to see that they can have a positive future even with mistakes in their past.

Emma Thompson
Valley High School, West Des Moines

TECHS: Teen Electronics & Cyber Help for Seniors
My project, “TECHS: Teen Electronics & Cyber Help for Seniors,” is to create a program whereby high school students will teach senior living community residents how to improve their use of everyday technology devices such as cell phones, smart devices, digital cameras, tablets, and computers. I will organize volunteer hours for high school students from two school districts at three senior living communities in the Des Moines Metro area. Although some technology experience comes naturally to most high schoolers, I will create a volunteer training regimen in order to make sure the volunteers are able to help in common situations. In order to keep both volunteers and seniors safe, I will create guidelines for the volunteers to follow as well. Once TECHS is in place, I will expand the program to other senior living communities and implement this same program in public libraries and other public areas in order to reach out to a greater number of people.