Their stories are astounding. Their perseverance is inspiring. Their grit is unyielding.

Together with community partners, United Way of Central Iowa is celebrating these new Iowans during the first-ever Refugee Summit on October 7 and 8 at Plymouth Church in Des Moines.

The goal of the summit is to honor the achievements of refugees in central Iowa, raise awareness about the ways in which they enrich our community, and increase knowledge about how best to welcome them and provide support.

On Friday, October 7, the summit will welcome employers, educators, nonprofit staff, service providers, local and state government staff and community members who work with refugees currently or plan to in the future. The day’s agenda will focus on ways that central Iowans can better welcome and serve this sometimes vulnerable population.

Friday sessions include:

  • Welcoming Refugees to Your Workplace
  • The Challenges and Successes of Refugee Youth
  • Refugee Wellness
  • Refugees as Role Models
  • Global Arts Therapy

On Saturday, the summit will open the doors to the newest members of our community: the refugees themselves, with the agenda focusing on how to navigate a new culture and thrive in central Iowa. Interpreters will be available to assist.

Saturday sessions include:

  • Successes as Role Models
  • Legal Issues in the Refugee Community
  • How Parents Can Help Refugee Children Succeed in School.

In addition to informational sessions, Saturday will feature free health screenings provided by Des Moines University and Des Moines Health Center and information tables with resources for transportation, education and legal services, among other topics.

        Register for Friday $35.00    Register for Saturday FREE    Present an Interest Table $15   

Get to Know a Refugee



Dr. Helene Fein

About The Author: Dr. Helene Fein

Dr. Helene Fein is the former director of community impact services for United Way of Central Iowa.