MLK Day 2021: Celebrate with Service

Poster listing MLK Day 2021 events in the City of West Des Moines

“A Day On, Not a Day Off”

This coming Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Honoring the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy of justice and fairness, MLK Day is the only federal holiday also designated as a national day of service.

Volunteer organizations encourage us to think of MLK Day as “a day on, not a day off.” WDMCS students and families can engage in Dr. King’s legacy by volunteering locally over the weekend or on Mon., Jan. 18.

“Observing the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday through service is a way to begin each year with a commitment to making your community a better place.” – City of West Des Moines

Service Opportunities

For Everyone

See below for a collection of resources for finding volunteer opportunities in our community. 

Find service opportunities in the WDMCS area

For Silver Cord Students

WDMCS District Pre-approved Service Opportunities

Metro Area Pre-approved Service Opportunities

For students and families looking to start small:

The Great Kindness Challenge—Kind Acts Checklist

More way to celebrate MLK Day in WDMCS

The City of West Des Moines, in partnership with WDMCS, the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, West Des Moines Historical Society, and Des Moines University, is sponsoring events to celebrate MLK Day on Fri., Jan. 15 and Mon., Jan. 18.

Activities include:

  • “I Have a Dream” free nightlight kit—pick up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at WDM City Hall on Wed., Jan. 13, Thurs., Jan. 14, or Fri., Jan. 15.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. WDM Chamber Celebration—Fri., Jan. 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. All community members are invited to join virtually via the WDM Chamber website.
  • Mayoral Proclamation & Community Award Recipient Remarks—Mon., Jan. 18, at 10 a.m. All community members are invited to join virtually via the City of West Des Moines Facebook page.
  • Youth Mini Conference—Mon., Jan. 18, from 1-3 p.m. WDMCS students are invited to participate in the virtual mini conference via Zoom. Register online to attend! Students who stay for the 30-minute small group discussion will be able to count the time towards their Silver Cord hours.

Help us celebrate Welcoming Week 2020!

Welcoming Week 2020: Creating Home Together graphicWhat is Welcoming Week?

As our neighborhoods grow more diverse, our community is enriched by new voices, different experiences, and unique perspectives. During Welcoming Week, we recognize the contributions of immigrants and refugees to the fiber of our country. This is a time to celebrate the values that unite us as neighbors, parents, and colleagues and make our cities more welcoming to newcomers and everyone who calls our community home. We invite you to join us in creating a welcoming community!

Join us for Virtual Story Time

This year WDMCS Community Education is partnering with the West Des Moines Public Library to celebrate Welcoming Week and its theme, “Creating Home Together,” with virtual storytimes highlighting books from the Meet Your Neighbors Story BoxesJoin us on the library’s Facebook page to listen. There will be three story times during Welcoming Week:

Monday, September 14, 10:30-10:45 a.m.

Wednesday, September 16, 10:30-10:45 a.m.

Friday, September 18, 10:30-10:45 a.m.

About Meet Your Neighbors Story Boxes

Meet Your Neighbors Story Boxes were created by WDMCS Community Education and the West Des Moines Library to help students and families learn more about our neighbors around the world. Each Story Box focuses on a different cultural group found in our WDMCS neighborhoods.

Inside, you’ll find both fiction and nonfiction books, music, and a reading and listening guide you can use at home or in your classroom. We believe that shared stories, food, crafts, music, and activities can foster understanding across differences and help us be good neighbors to all who make the West Des Moines area their home.

Meet Your Neighbors Story Boxes are available for checkout at the West Des Moines Public Library.

We are Community

We Are Community—A Diversity Photo Project

We Are Community is a project of the WDMCS Community Education Advisory Council, a volunteer group of citizens who identify community needs and initiate action to address those needs. The photo project was designed to highlight the rich diversity that exists in our schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces, and to encourage people to build connections across those difference … to build community.

Our 91 participants range in age from 7 to 94. They represent differences in age, ability, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, language, country of origin, religion, education, occupation, sexual orientation, marital and socioeconomic status, and more! We are so grateful for their willingness to let us learn about what makes them who they are.

We are Community Full Display

What Does It Mean To Be ‘Future Ready’ In Iowa? Join WDMCS Discussion Feb. 26

What does it mean to be postsecondary, career, and life ready for West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) students? Join WDMCS Superintendent Lisa Remy, Ed.D., as she explores this topic with panelists from the City of West Des Moines, Iowa Workforce Development, Des Moines Area Community College, and local business partners.

Discussion will include information about current career trends in Iowa and what it means to be “Future Ready” in our state. In addition, participants will learn the importance of workplace learning in school so students and families can make informed decisions.

Event Specifics:

ParentQuest is a free program of WDMCS Community Education. To learn more, visit our website or give us a call at 515-633-5001.

Preschool Palooza 2018

IMG 7062WDMCS Community Education’s Preschool Palooza event will take place from 9:30 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at Hillside Elementary School, 713 Eighth St., West Des Moines, IA.

This free event is designed for children ages 2-6 and their grown-ups. Children will be able to play games, have their faces painted, jump in an inflatable, sing and dance with Music-n-Motion, listen to a story, explore a City of West Des Moines vehicle, and much more. Grown-ups will be able to

talk with the WDMCS district staff about kindergarten registration, district and community preschool programs, nutrition, and transportation.

Preschool directors and teachers who participate in the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SVPP) will also be present.

IMG 7042

Organizations participating in Preschool Palooza include: Apple Tree Children’s Centers (Grand Avenue and Ashworth Road locations), Booster Pak, Creekside Christian Preschool, City of West Des Moines, Des Moines Art Center, Drake University Head Start, Heartland AEA 11, Iowa Public Television, Midwest Inflatables, Music-n-Motion, Sacred Heart Preschool, Storybook Adventures, Tiger Cubs preschools, West Des Moines United Methodist Preschool, West Des Moines Public Library, and Urbandale Lions Club.

Full Listing of Activities, Participants, and Performers

Meet Your Neighbors: Raising Teenagers

Join us! This event is open to the public.Friends on bikes taking selfie before school

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 | 6-8 p.m.
West Des Moines Public Library—Community Room
4000 Mills Civic Parkway | West Des Moines

Strong communities actively include and engage people of all backgrounds. Through panel discussions and Q&A sessions, “Meet Your Neighbors” will help long-term residents and newcomers interact and communicate. Inspired by groups around the nation hosting similar events, we believe the best place to learn about your new neighbors is from your new neighbors themselves.

For our second session in the “Meet Your Neighbor’s” series, we are excited to focus on the theme,
“Raising Teenagers.” In this session, the discussion will focus on how raising a teenager varies around the world and navigating the teenage years in a new country.

The evening will be hosted in conjunction with the Youth Justice Initiative (YJI). The mission of YJI is to provide and sustain restorative processes with youth in our community that promotes healing, increases accountability, and provides support.

The evening will be facilitated by ViewPoints, an interdisciplinary team that specializes in creating
opportunities for people to learn from one another in order to find innovative solutions to the problems individuals and communities face.

Seniors Come Home—Class of 2018

Seniors Come Home—Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Students who attended a West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) elementary are invited back for Seniors Come Home. This special event gives high school seniors the opportunity to visit their home elementary schools so teachers and fellow students can wish them well on their upcoming graduation. Seniors Come Home has been a tradition in the WDMCS for more than 25 years.

On Wednesday, May 23, graduating seniors are invited back to their home schools at the following times:

  • Jordan Creek and Western Hills at 2:20 p.m.;
  • Clive, Fairmeadows, and Hillside at 2:45 p.m.;
  • Crossroads Park at 3 p.m.; and
  • Crestview and Westridge at 3:15 p.m.

All retired elementary teachers and staff are welcome.

Seniors Come Home is coordinated by Rosemary Brandt (515-633-5012), Service Learning Coordinator. Service Learning is a program of WDMCS Community Education.

Summer of Learning 2018

SOL 2018 Catalog Cover

Are you wondering how you’re going to keep your kids busy this summer? We have many fun, enriching, and affordable learning opportunities available! Whether your children need a little extra help in reading, writing, or math, or simply a fun way to expand their knowledge in several subjects, WDMCS Community Education provides a wide variety of activities to choose from.

Summer of Learning Catalog

List of Summer of Learning programs

Register Online


WDMCS Personal Care Collection—Feb. 12-16, 2018

WDMCS Personal Care Drive 2018

Let's Make a Difference with the WDMCS Personal Care Drive Feb. 11-16, 2018.

Posted by West Des Moines Community Education on Sunday, February 11, 2018


West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) is making a difference the week of Feb. 12-16. WDMCS staff and students can participate in a personal care collection for those in need. Items most needed are regular-size shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, lip balm, diapers, and baby wipes. The donated items will be collected and then distributed to Booster Pak, Clive Community Services, and West Des Moines Human Services.

WDMCS student volunteers participate by decorating collection boxes, distributing posters, and counting and organizing donations.

The personal care collection is coordinated by WDMCS Community Education’s Service Learning programs.

Tweeting? Use #donateWDMCS and #IheartWDMCS to connect with us!

Try Something New with LEARNwest

LEARNwest Catalog Cover Winter Spring 2018Welcome to the winter/spring 2018 LEARNwest catalog! We are no longer printing or mailing this catalog, but you will still find a variety of opportunities for you to experiment with a new subject area or build on a previous skill and expand your area of expertise.

Many people enjoy connecting with other people who have similar interests. It’s rewarding to meet other people who also like to keep active and live in the same neighborhood!

Our early registration discount is also being offered again! When you register at least two weeks before the class start date, you will receive a $5 discount. The online class prices automatically reflect the discount when it applies. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked at least two weeks before the class start date to qualify for the discount, or the regular rates apply. Make sure to sign up in time to receive this discount, and secure your place in the class of your choice.

Enjoy your new year by trying something new.

For information about LEARNwest please call Program Coordinator, Sue Otte at 515-633-5007.