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Do More, Des Moines

Giving Back with Variety

August 30, 2023

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” While Warren Buffet is known for his wisdom pertaining to financial investments, it turns out he knows a thing or two about investing in others as well.

Growing up, I was raised in a household that taught me the importance of giving back and serving others. No matter what their situation was, if you could, you should. I am so grateful for my parents for instilling those values at a young age. Thankfully, I’ve had the opportunity to work for leaders in Greater Des Moines (DSM) that have demonstrated those same values and stressed investing in our community.

Variety Iowa Makes a Difference

For many of us, we want to be involved. We want to feel like we are part of something greater than the 8-5 grind of our daily jobs. And it’s a lot easier said than done. Our schedules get busy, we get tired, the next carrot comes out of nowhere and we chase it. I know these are true because they have been some of the same excuses I have used before jumping all in.

Giving Back with Variety Iowa

But what happens when we combine the cause for greater good and giving back with the social aspect of connecting with others and growing our personal network within DSM? For me, the answer has been Young Variety. Currently, I serve as the President of the young professional demographic of Variety - the Children’s Charity. Together with this group of leaders, we aim to improve the lives of children who are underprivileged, at-risk, critically ill and living with special needs by tailoring events and outreach efforts towards other young professionals in the area. We come from different backgrounds, different employers and each provide a different viewpoint while all being aligned with the same common goal.

Bike from Variety

Not only has volunteering in DSM been rewarding from the positive impact we make in the community and the lives we have changed, it has also led to an increased network of connections and more importantly, lifelong friendships. A group of friends able to do life together. A group of friends eager to say “what’s next” to put the next smile on a child’s face.

DSM boasts an impressive list for the numerous and well-deserved accolades it has received. But behind the opulence, comes a different reality for many residents that call this city home who are not as fortunate.

With Variety, we are constantly finding ways to do more for the children we serve in DSM. As the start of a new school year is right around the corner, we once again have targeted a demographic of children without access to books, resources to purchase school supplies or a bicycle to ride around the neighborhood with their friends and family. So we’ve partnered with a local elementary school in Des Moines to provide these resources to children at no cost thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and partnering businesses in DSM.

Variety Iowa Bike

In addition to a backpack full of school supplies, we are also providing each student with their very own bicycle and helmet. For many of these students, this will be the first bicycle they have received to call their own. It’s far too easy for us to take these things for granted without recognizing the importance these necessities have on the improvement of a child’s life.

Outside of this back-to-school event, our board is full of leaders passionate about giving more of themselves for the betterment of others. Through charity grant tours, outreach socials or creative fundraising events, we work relentlessly to get behind our cause and make sure every child in DSM has a chance.

Getting Involved with Variety Iowa

So how can you get involved? We all have things we care about. Problems in the community we want to change. Issues to want to advocate for. But like anything, our plates are full and adding “one more thing” to our calendar takes time. It takes time away from already busy schedules. My advice to you is find your “why”, find the time and go all in. Don’t look at volunteering as a sacrifice of time, talents and resources. Rather, look at it as an investment in others. An opportunity to make this great city of Des Moines an even better place to live, work and play. A better DSM for everyone, of all ages. Perspective changes everything.

variety Iowa Group

At the end of the day, we all have the chance to plant that tree to provide shade for others down the road. Are you ready to grab your shovel and get to planting? Be a champion for change within your company and community. While Variety - the Children’s Charity of Iowa is at the top of my list as an organization that helps impact DSM, there are many more in the area that I would encourage you to get involved with today. Grow your network, give back and leave your mark on your community. It’s time we do more, Des Moines.

Improving the Greater Des Moines (DSM) community through volunteering and community service is a priority for many. Thanks to community engagement opportunities and leadership connecting local businesses to causes that provide services to improve the region, DSM continues to be a place that provides support for those who live, work and play here.

With the #7 Lowest Cost of Living in the U.S. and a Top Metro for Number of Economic Development Projects (among metros with a population of 200,000 to 1 million), Greater Des Moines (DSM) is a region where you can have it all. Learn more about what it’s like to live here.

Colby Elmitt

Colby Elmitt has been a Senior IT Recruiter with QCI for the past 9 years. Colby and his wife Rachel have three children, Will, Pete and Ivy and two dogs, Bear and Cutler. Their family enjoysy serving the Des Moines community through Variety - the Children’s Charity of Iowa as well as other local non-profits.