Weeks spotlights kid activities at CIAA for Rotary

Dennis Drager rang the bell to begin the Rotary meeting on Tuesday. Elmwood Country Club was the venue that featured a lunch buffet. Dan Vellinga led with a prayer and Pledge of Allegiance and Sarah Rosenblum gave a news report. Guests included Doug Beals and Bob Untiedt. Untied put in a plug for the Live After 5 performances at the Orpheum and noted the cards at each table showing the schedule of remaining events for the year.

Steve Valbracht presented a personal/vocational recap before Dillon Does introduced Keeley Weeks to present the program. Weeks is the executive director of the Central Iowa Art Association and grew up surrounded by art. She loves to engage with children and keeps busy as a lifelong learner. Weeks began by proclaiming that “every child deserves art.” She then went on to detail 10 reasons why. Developing confidence, accountability and improved academic performance are just a few of the reasons art is important to kids. Thanking the United Way for supporting Free Kids Clubs, Weeks described the activities and programs made available during a 16-week period. Room to Bloom is the program for kids age 3-5, Palette Town for 6-12 and Artisans Teen Club for 13-18 year olds. No School Art Camps are also made available during normal school hours when school is not in session. During the most recent winter Holiday Camp, kids learned how other cultures celebrate holidays. There is also a Spring Break Art Camp. Weeks also described how kids can take advantage of the Free Kids Open Art Studio. She described how “volunteens” were a big help in the camps, particularly for the Summer Art Camps that were held for two weeks in June. Weeks said much of CIAA community outreach is “all about the kids.” The farmers market and Linn Creek Arts Festival were two recent events that allowed for such outreach activities. The numbers tell the story as the CIAA has served more than 300 children so far this year and they are still counting. This is up from 100 just two years ago. Weeks closed by asking the Rotarians to take note of the Art in Wonderland event coming up on Oct. 7. This is the group’s major fundraiser for the year.

Summer months often entail travel and the potential for missed meetings. Rotarians are reminded there are several ways to make up a missed meeting. Many take advantage of an informal 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon get-together at Iowa River Brewing. Attending another Rotary club’s meeting or the club’s board meeting or committee meeting is another common way, as is working on one of the club’s projects.