ArtForce Iowa launches the #YESKINDNESS project July 1, 2018. This project will support equity in access to education, health and wellness opportunities, and continue fostering positive self expression through the arts for our three supportive arts communities: Creative Pathways, DSM Heroes and StreetCred Studios (described below). The #YESKINDNESS project aims to educate as well as ensure access to healthy food, a safe space and positive adult mentors.

#YESKINDNESS will be launched in conjunction with the planning phase of #KNOWJUSTICE: Origins, which culminates in our 5th annual youth art exhibit at the Polk County Heritage Gallery in May of 2019 and ripples throughout the community in summer of 2019.  ArtForce Iowa will partner with other “kindness-forward” and health related organizations around our community to spread the message of empathy and compassion.  

Iowa ACES has reported that 14.1% of Polk County residents have 4 or more adverse childhood experiences, which can lead to negative health outcomes. #YESKINDNESS has a mission to educate everyone about the health benefits of empathy and compassion. #YESKINDNESS will reach the community through free workshops, community events and programming. When we talk about empathy and compassion, we will focus on two things: our neighbors and ourselves.  


The #YESKINDNESS project has three major components:

1. Education
Foster self-care in our community for our community. Show our community and the world that kindness does not equal weakness, and that kindness to self and others is the way to social justice. Includes field trips to potential employers, training and wellness-centered workshops i.e. learning more about healthy foods, yoga and meditation workshops, krav maga.

2. Coalition Building
Bring more people to the table to discuss how to spread kindness. With Iowa ACES 360, Polk County organizations designed to support struggling youth and other health and wellness partners, the #YESKINDNESS Coalition partners will unite to build the evidence base for trauma-informed schools and safe environments for youth to thrive, foster and create safe spaces in our community for our community. Includes Lunch and Learns, Partner and Community Breakfasts, Coalition Meetings where all the participants collaborate to make art around community issues.

3. Client Assistance
Polk County’s young people cannot learn if their basic needs are unmet, yet many of them struggle. They arrive at ArtForce Iowa ravenous, and sometimes all we have to offer is trail mix and juice.  With the support of the Wellmark Foundation, ArtForce Iowa could make an impact in the wellness and future health of our youth artists and their families. We could provide a nutritious meal four times a week. Our seniors (we have 14 on track to graduate in 2019) would not have to worry about when they'll have their next meal, and focus on school work.  



Get involved today and say #YESKINDNESS!


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