.: Special Events

Open World program, 2005

Between August 6 and August 14, 2005 OPEN conducted a program for representatives of NGOs from Ukraine. This program was sponsored by an overarching project, Open World. 

The week began with an introduction to local city and county governments. 

After the first day, the intense scrutiny of non-profits and NGOs in Newton has begun. The groupís visits were very diverse.  The importance of government/private sector partnerships was explored as well as successful fund-raising methods, the importance of careful assessment of community needs and strategic planning. 

OPEN was fortunate to have the cooperation of the highest level of expertise in the organizations that were visited.  For example, OPEN scheduled a meeting with the President/CEO of a large Iowa telecommunications company with headquarters in Newton, Alan Wells.  Mr. Wells is also the volunteer president of a local economic development group, Newton Development Corporation.  Fruitful discussions took place during the meeting.  Another highly qualified individual, Cheri Doane, Director of Community-Based Learning at Central College, facilitated a successful forum.  Forum participants were successful leaders in their career fields but also successful community activists.  The Director of the Y-Community Center as well as the Director of United Way shared detailed information about their respective organizations. 

At the Welcome Dinner it surfaced that the delegates were interested in information about Native American reservations or settlements.  In Tama, Iowa, approximately 40 miles away, is a Mesquaki settlement.  Based on the delegates' interest, an afternoon at the settlement was added to the schedule. The annual Mesquaki Pow Wow is always held near the middle of August so the group went to Tama to observe the celebration. Many ceremonial dances were performed in authentic dress and the presentations were preceded by detailed explanations by the narrator. A display of historical information and authentic food was available on site. The delegates and facilitator were introduced to the crowd assembled, thanks to State Senator Dennis Black, who sat with the group during the afternoon.

The group also attended Iowa State Fair and an IMAX theater presentation. The group was delightful in their enthusiastic approach to everything available to them.

Three delegates attended church services and visited Neal Smith Prairie Learning Center nearby. Two played golf with their host one evening during the week. All of the men did some shopping and all attended an Iowa Cubs professional baseball game in Des Moines, Iowa.  All three host families also attended and had a "tail-gate" picnic, a typical American "happening" before a sports event. The facilitator, Roman, spent the 2001-2002 school year in Wilton, Iowa, which is two hours east of Newton. His Open World host family invited his Wilton high school host family to Newton for dinner; a nice opportunity for a reunion. The host families commented on the quality of the delegates and vice versa; all delegates enjoyed their host family placements.

 The Open World Program experience has been a very positive one for Newton community.

An evening at a Des Moines Cubs baseball game

Art work at the Des Moines Area Community College in Newton

Arrival at the Des Moines International airport

Meeting with Chaz Allen who is the public relations person at Iowa Telecom

Picture at the Winery

Meeting with the Mayor of Newton at City Hall