Without the tremendous support and hard work of our partners, the IAA could not do as much, or be as successful, as it is today. We would like to thank the following organizations and programs for helping us work towards the goal of ensuring Iowa’s children and youth have access to quality afterschool programming in their communities through support of the network.

Congratulations to our 2016 Afterschool Champions!

Paul and Carolyn Brooks

Afterschool Advocates

Paul and Carolyn Brooks, Muscatine, Iowa

Paul and Carolyn have dedicated a number of years to a program at the Flickinger Learning Center. The growth in the Flickinger Learning Center network, which has expanded to multiple programs around the Muscatine community, would not have been so successful without the Brooks' leadership and dedication. With Paul and Carolyn’s assistance, the Flickinger Center's measurable outcomes of improved reading have been verified with outstanding results. Simply put, Paul and Carolyn Brooks' dedication has had a huge impact on the students in need of reading support in the Muscatine community.

Collaboration Award

The Chrysalis Foundation

The Chrysalis Foundation has been a huge supporter of the Whyld Girls for many years. Chrysalis provides funding that allows the Whyld Girls to participate in engaging learning activities, art projects, and service learning projects. Chrysalis also has been a huge support to help make sure that the Whyld Girls attend college. Chrysalis has provided scholarship opportunities for members and they never fail to show the girls how amazing it is to be young women. Chrysalis's support has allowed the Whyld Girls program to succeed and has helped send many first generation students to college.

Terry Hernandez and Brooke Findley of the Chrysalis Foundation

Principal Steve Mielenhausen

 Principal of the Year

Steve Mielenhausen, Davenport Community Schools

Principal Mielenhausen of Madison Elementary in Davenport, Iowa, has always supported afterschool and summer programming at Madison Elementary. When he became principal at Madison it became his goal to make sure any student that wanted to be in the afterschool or summer program could participate without barriers. With the introduction of the 21st Century grant, the program at Madison went from serving 15 students a day to over 65 students each day. He not only helped bring the grant to the school, he has truly integrated the programming into the school by helping the staff and teachers recognize how important the program is to the students and families. The program has full access to all areas of the school and over 40 percent of the teachers in the building work in some capacity within the program, offering academic enrichment, intervention or homework help. This would not have happened without his leadership and support.

  Friend of Afterschool

Congressman Dave Loebsack

 A long-time member of the Afterschool Caucus, Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa's Second Congressional District has been an advocate for afterschool programming since his first term. Last year, Congressman Loebsack introduced the Rural Education Bill in which a rural afterschool grant program was created. The Congressman is also a long-time supporter of 21st Century Community Learning Centers and afterschool STEM.


Congressman Dave Loebsack (sitting, middle) with students at Madison Elementary School in Davenport, Iowa.

Crosby Chanthavisouk (third from left) and family

 Outstanding Afterschool Student

Crosby Chanthavisouk

Crosby Chanthavisouk of Storm Lake Middle School has been a true leader in the Tornado Learning Club program back home in Storm Lake this year. He has approached the director with new ideas for programming and can be called upon to jump in as a mentor/leader when needed. His nominator considers him one of the most dependable and calm students she works with.

Outstanding Afterschool Student

Mercedes Castillo

Mercedes Castillo of Des Moines’ North High School has shown exemplary leadership through family hardship. Despite, or perhaps encouraged by, her grief at the loss of her father, Ms. Castillo went on to perform in Peter Pan, serve as a teaching artist, start an Aztec dance group, receive high honors at the Iowa Speech Contest, and much more.

Mercedes Castillo (right)

Carrie McGean (second from left)

Outstanding Afterschool Student

Carrie McGean

Carrie McGean of Southeast Polk High School in Altoona is an Outstanding Afterschool Student for her work as a GirlPower Peer Mentor. In this role, Ms. McGean has led over 25 groups and trained a dozen new mentors in high-quality, professional leadership.

 Lifetime Achievement Award

Dave Welter, Principal, Holmes Jr. High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Dave’s strong commitment to afterschool not only in his own school building, but also statewide and nationally. As a long-time board member of the Iowa Afterschool Alliance, Dave has been a dedicated advocate for high-quality afterschool for all children, youth, and families in Iowa. He has not only advocated for afterschool as a priority within his own district, but has influenced many of his peers to do the same in communities across the state.

Dave Welter (left) with Michelle Rich of the Iowa Afterschool Alliance


Innovator Award

ArtHaus, Decorah, Iowa

ArtHaus provides robust creative art programming that greatly benefits the children of Northeast Iowa. From exploration of Japanese art, to improv theatre and early childhood art classes, children love ArtHaus. Parents are engaged with walking school buses after school that make accessing programming easy. ArtHaus provides scholarships that let any child join in the learning, as well as classes that span different disciplines and a diverse set of teachers that maximize the arts knowledge of the Northeast Iowa community. In addition to these great components, ArtHaus partners with community members to develop their offerings, including a college professor that teaches creative writing after school. Nominated by several community members, including a parent, it is clear ArtHaus is a treasure to children, youth, families, and the community.

2015 Afterschool Champions Awards

2015 Impact After School Conference Program

2015 Outstanding Afterschool Student: Bobby Washington, Jr., Des Moines

At just 10 years of age, Bobby Washington Jr., came up with the idea for Books From Bobby, as a part of entrepreneurial competition he entered. He has since turned this idea into a thriving organization and serves as the face of the organization's efforts in eliminating illiteracy. You will find him frequently speaking at events, carrying a book, and walking around the afterschool program talking about how the simple act of reading has opened so many doors and creative thought processes for him. Bobby's personality has flourished with the organization and he is willing to share his positive vibes with anyone he interacts with. “He not only talks the talks but he walks it. He maintains his grades, participates in basketball, and sings in the church youth choir while juggling the responsibilities of Books From Bobby.”


 Advocate of the Year: Barb Schmitz

Barb Schmitz is the creator and leader of Oelwein’s afterschool program, Husky Adventures. Barb works countless hours developing and creating camps to engage students from kindergarten through middle school in camps with a variety of themes, from painting, LEGOs, learning how to fashion design, creating a 1K community walk/run, STEM camps, music camp, and a book walk along a nature trail. Barb doesn’t just rely on school teachers to run these camps; she has reached out in the community to involve students from the local college and library. She has even worked with the swimming pool to have students receive swimming lessons during the summer program. Oelwein has a large number of students living in poverty, and thanks to Barb’s leadership, these students are able to participate in countless opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t. In the words of her nominators, “Barb Schmitz is the guardian angel that has blessed our community through Husky Adventures. She is a champion among champions and her infectious enthusiasm and compassion for the students and families of our community is second to none.”


 Afterschool Innovator: G World Johnson County

G World is a self-identifying minority young women's group. Raquishia Harrington and Latasha Delouch, the powerful women who implemented this program over the past three years, have helped numerous junior high and high school girls grow and build social skills. The group uses Girls Circle curriculum which empowers the young women and focuses on finding the wisdom within the group. G World is in two junior highs, and one high school with more growth on the horizon. LaTasha and Quishia have dedicated themselves to the empowerment of young women across the county and have also organized two Young Women conferences (My Beautiful Self, and Our Beautiful Selves) to support and empower other young ladies in Johnson County who are not currently enrolled in a G World group. Quishia and LaTasha also organized an Advisory Council to better support the girls and the program. The G World girls complete a service project every year, and last year the City High G World group received a Human Rights Award for their work on spreading awareness about cervical cancer and the disparities for women of color.


 Collaboration Award: City of Davenport Parks and Recreation and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Scott County

Over 5 years ago, Davenport Community School District was presented with the challenge of being told that the district could no longer employ para-educators through extended employment contracts and that the afterschool and summer program, Stepping Stones, would need to find a partnering agency hire all staff to work within the programs. The para-educators were a critical layer of staffing that allowed for consistent core day and afterschool staff within the programs. Through the City’s willingness step up and agree to jointly hire, train and supervise all program level staff working in the Stepping Stones and take on the role of employer, para-educators could still work in the programs, allowing for the best staffing possible as well as transitioning their employment to summer programming. This relationship has grown into a very successful partnership that helps grow future youth workers and educators for Davenport.

Scott County Extension plays three critical roles within the Stepping Stones Programs, external 21st CCLC evaluator, QRS facilitator and enrichment programming. Through the excellence of Extension, the Stepping Stones program in Davenport has reached a whole new level of best practices and quality standards. Extension has a lengthy history of providing excellent hands-on enrichment experiences through sequential learning experience weekly within the programs. The thematic units are very engaging and provide students with hands on learning experiences which enhanced and reinforces curriculum taught during the core day.

The City of Davenport Parks & Recreation Department & Iowa State University Extension and Outreach- Scott County have collaboratively set the bar for quality out-of-school time programming within Davenport through the partnership with the Stepping Stones program. Their commitment to serving youth has allowed for the programs to grow and become accessible for all families, serving approximately 1,000 students each night in 15 schools across the Davenport Community School District.


 Friend of Afterschool: Iowa Lieutentant Governor Kim Reynolds

Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds works tirelessly to provide access to STEM in Iowa; she is one of the founding visionaries of the initiative and co-chairs the Governor's STEM Advisory Council. Over the years, she has been supportive of out-of-school time programs and STEM. She spoke at the closing ceremony of the Des Moines-based nonprofit Tech Journey summer program for Central Campus students in Des Moines, where about 40 students spent the week learning to program and exploring different aspects of technology at the school. Additionally, she leads the Million Women Mentors Iowa initiative, which has pledged to have 5,000 mentors committed to young women in STEM education and careers by 2018. Last July, she visited the Des Moines 21st Century Community Learning Centers Starfish Academy at King Elementary School, which offers summer programming to over 60 students and strives to improve literacy. She recently welcomed more than 500 attendees to the Iowa STEM Summit on March 30, 2015. Through this work, she has been influential in advancing afterschool issues in public policy. The Iowa Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the Friend of Afterschool Award for 2015 to Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.



2014 Afterschool Champions Awards

April 25, 2014 Champions Reception Program

2014 Outstanding Afterschool Student: Katie Foley, Des Moines, Iowa

Nominated by Community Youth Concepts of Des Moines, “Katie is an extraordinary young woman. Her professionalism, communication skills, and confidence continue to grow as she challenges herself within afterschool programming. She is hard working, diligent, responsible, and able to prioritize her afterschool, work and academic commitments. Katie truly appreciates the power of afterschool opportunities to help her achieve what she wants to achieve in life.

Last summer Katie applied and received a grant from Youth Service America to serve as Child Ambassador for the state of Iowa. In this role Katie identified the need to increase resiliency among middle school youth and then worked with Community Youth Concepts (CYC) to develop a peer leadership after school program. Over the past year, Katie’s excitement has grown as she invests her time building relationships with middle school students twice a month and role models confidence, positivity, and healthy coping strategies for stressors among youth. Katie encourages students to serve as positive role models among their peers and help promote resiliency among their school community.”

   Advocate of the Year: Mary Daily Lange, United Way of Central Iowa

The Advocate of the Year is the single individual or organization that has been the most active and vocal advocate for afterschool and out-of-school time over the past year. Ms. Daily Lange, through her work with the United Way of Central Iowa OST Literacy Initiative and other initiatives, has brought a critical voice to the discussion of learning in out-of-school time. Because of Ms. Daily Lange’s previous experience as a school improvement leader, business executive, and United Way volunteer, her advocacy brings credibility and weight to the underlying idea that learning must be supported in time spent outside of the school day. Ms. Daily Lange’s efforts have raised awareness among elected leaders and other critical stakeholders that state and local policies must encourage such activities through increased funding and technical support of programs.

   Afterschool Innovator: Stepping Stones, Davenport Community School District

This award recognizes programs that have implemented innovative practices to support children, youth, and/or families in Iowa communities through out-of-school time. 

21st Century Community Learning Centers grants provide funding to serve high-need students often unable to pay for fee-based afterschool and summer services. However, sometimes this leads to differentiation of programming based on ability to pay and the eventual challenge to program sustainability once grants have ended. In Davenport, the Stepping Stones program has worked to braid funding streams within the school district to better align programming available within the school building and community. Although this effort is not without its challenges, Stepping Stones has ensured that afterschool and summer service delivery within the Davenport community is seamless and inclusive to students in the district at each elementary school building.

  Collaboration Award: Boys and Girls Clubs of the Cedar Valley

This award recognizes organizations that exemplify community and school partnerships that are so critical to student success in school and life. Organizations recognized for collaboration are a model for communication among diverse stakeholders, commitment to serving children and youth, and a willingness to partner. 

The mission of the Boys & Girls Club is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Cedar Valley wanted to expand its outreach and services to more teens and to establish a stronger connection to the Cedar Falls, Iowa, community. Holmes Jr. High School in Cedar Falls was a logical choice in schools to partner with because of the connection to North Cedar Elementary School, which has had a Club site located there for several years. The club sought out a school setting to allow easier access for students and the ability to share resources between the school and club. The Club was nominated by Holmes Jr. High School principal Dave Welter and afterschool activities director Dan Bower because of the exemplary collaboration that has developed between the school and the club.

  Friend of Afterschool: Representative Ron Jorgenson, Sioux City

The friend of afterschool is the elected official that has been most influential in advancing afterschool issues in public policy. This year, legislation moved forward to fund an extended learning pilot program through the Iowa Department of Education. These pilots will provide additional time for learning to reinforce skills and knowledge for high-need students. Individuals previously recognized include Representative Kevin Koester of Ankeny, Iowa, and Representative J. Scott Raecker of Urbandale, Iowa, and currently with Character Counts! in Iowa. 


2013 Afterschool Champions Awards

April 25, 2013 Champions Reception Program

Outstanding Afterschool Student Award Recipients
Adrian Diaz, Ninth Grade, Holmes Jr. High School, Cedar Falls

“Adrian has made tremendous personal growth over the past two years. Adrian uses the positive support he receives from the afterschool program at Holmes as motivation to give back to his school and community. Adrian is now a leader and role model for many of the students at his school.” Nominator: Dan Bowers, Holmes Jr. High School  

Charlie Flippen, Ninth Grade, Roosevelt High School, Des Moines
“Charlie has been a part of two afterschool programs at Community Youth Concepts, the Iowa Disability Group and the High School Service Advisory Board, and has developed his personal story related to bullying and presented it to various groups. As a member of the High School Service Advisory Board he advises community health initiatives and completes service projects to impact health.” Nominator: Amelia Colwell Reedy, Community Youth Concepts

Olivia Graham, Second Grade, West Elementary School, Waukon
“Olivia is a loyal friend to all and steps up to protect anyone she feels is not being treated fairly. At the afterschool program she is a mature role model to others and can be relied on to take on responsibility easily.” Nominator: Virginia Kurth, West Elementary School

Honorable Mention
Tessa Albaugh, Altoona
Amie Berndt, Des Moines
Maria Cruz, Des Moines
Chance Opperman, Waukon
Hunter Siegenthaler, Waukon

2013 Champions Awards

Advocate of the Year: Vic Jaras, Iowa Department of Education
In his work with the Iowa Department of Education, Mr. Jaras has been a staunch advocate for student-centered programming and a key champion for Iowa’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Mr. Jaras is an important voice for afterschool programming in state government making the transition through numerous reforms to support enhanced student learning.
Afterschool Innovator: United Way of Central Iowa
United Way of Central Iowa (UWCI) is investing in a coordinated initiative to integrate literacy enrichment in more programming in the organization’s service area of Dallas, Polk and Warren Counties. Utilizing a model similar to its efforts in early childhood, UWCI is investing in literacy coaches to support and guide afterschool programs to more intentionally support the academic achievement of students, initially within the Des Moines Public Schools. Accepting the award for UWCI is Kate Bennet, Director of Education. For more information on UWCI, visit
  Collaboration Award: Siouxland Human Investment Partnership
The grantee for Sioux City’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Siouxland Human Investment Partnership (SHIP) coordinates programming across the spectrum – “from womb to tomb” – and serves as an advocate for the community. Accepting the award for SHIP is Matt Ohman, Executive Director, and Jim France, former Executive Director. For more information on SHIP and its programs, visit

Friend of Afterschool: Representative Kevin Koester, Ankeny

As a board member of the Iowa Afterschool Alliance, Iowa Network for Community and School Partnerships, and many other organizations, Representative Koester is one of the Iowa General Assembly’s strongest advocates for afterschool programming. Representative Koester works diligently to ensure policies support the community and school partnerships formed to provide our children and youth diverse, engaging learning opportunities outside the classroom.
Special Champion Recognition: Loras Osterhaus, Clinton Community Schools
A 2009 Advocate of the Year, Mr. Osterhaus deserves special recognition in 2013 for his publication in Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success, a compendium of articles by authors from across the country and edited by Terry K. Peterson, Ph.D. Mr. Osterhaus powerfully explains the benefits of and best practices for engaging parents in student learning. For more information on the compendium, visit
Lifetime Champion: Joe Herrity, Preferred Visions
Mr. Herrity’s contributions over 30 years of experience in afterschool and community education have been unmatched by his peers. As a consultant with the Iowa Department of Education, Mr. Herrity established Iowa’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers and propelled the afterschool movement forward to where it is today. For his past and ongoing achievements and advocacy, we are honored to name Joe Herrity our Lifetime Champion. For more information on Preferred Visions, visit


National Partners through the Afterschool Technical Assistance Collaborative (made possible by the C.S. Mott Foundation)

Afterschool Alliance
Collaborative Communications Group
Expanded Learning and Afterschool Initiative
The Finance Project
Fowler Hoffman
Harvard Family Research Project, Harvard University
Learning Point Associates
National League of Cities
National Governors Association
National Council of Chief State School Officers
National Conference of State Legislatures
College of Charleston

Interested in becoming a partner? Please contact Michelle Rich at or 515-243-2000 for more information.

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