Short-term volunteer hosts are responsible for taking international IRIS participants into their homes as guests. Short-term hosting can range from one evening of hosting up to a few weeks of hosting, depending on your availability.
Guests spend weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. participating in IRIS activities. During evenings and on weekends, the guests get an opportunity to experience ordinary Iowa lifestyles with their hosts. This includes daily routines, visiting area shops and community activities, and learning how American homes are run.
Iowa hosts get a first-hand opportunity to learn about a new country and culture, and participants receive true Iowan hospitality.
Long-term volunteer hosts open their homes to international guests and Youth Exchange & Study (YES) participants for up to 10 months.
YES participants are high school-aged students studying in Iowa high schools for one academic school year.
Long-term hosts are expected to welcome the guest into their home as a member of the household. These guests take on regular family chores and responsibilities. Hosts teach their student about living in American homes and guiding them through Iowa’s various lifestyles – from living in rural areas to large cities like Des Moines.
Hosting a long term guest gives both parties the opportunity to open up and learn more about the others’ lives, cultures, and lifestyles on a deeper level.
Federal grant funds, which account for nearly 95 percent of our operating budget, are decreasing, and limit what we can accomplish. This makes it nearly impossible for IRIS to develop the best new programs and involve participants from more countries.
In order to move forward and develop new initiatives, IRIS must develop a pool of unrestricted funds. Our goal for 2013 is $20,000, and we have a long way to go!
With your help, IRIS plans to:
•Support alumni projects abroad
•Develop outbound programs, which would allow Iowans to travel to and work with people around the world
Donate online or mail cash or checks to:
600 5th Street, Suite 301
Ames, IA 50010
IRIS strives to support our YES students not only while they’re in the United States, but also once they’ve returned home. During this process, alumni participate and conduct projects such as charity work, donations, environmental sustainability activities, and assisting in education in Tanzania and Nigeria. IRIS continues to work with alumni to apply their leadership skills at home in order to promote an atmosphere of tolerance and development.
Alumni identify community-based needs in their home community and determine tactics to meet those needs. YES alumni have established Peace Clubs and alumni learning centers which provide opportunities for youth employment. These activities also bridge the information gap between developing and developed countries.
IRIS and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State fund the projects abroad, but need your help in developing new programs which continue to support our alumni. Help us continue the important work of peace building and connecting Iowans to communities worldwide by donating.
Office volunteers aid the staff by helping with organization, large-scale projects, booking upcoming events, and researching potential activities for participants.
IRIS is seeking organized, professional individuals who would benefit from learning about working in a small nonprofit and can commit to working regular hours each week (even if that means only a few hours each week).
Office volunteers get the chance to learn about the struggles and successes of working in a small nonprofit organization and also help IRIS by adding input and insight into ongoing programs.
As a small nonprofit, one of our largest obstacles to overcome is the lack of awareness throughout Iowa and the Midwest.
You can help raise awareness of IRIS and the work we do to connect Iowans to communities worldwide by distributing our promotional materials (brochures, fliers, etc.) throughout your community.
IRIS participants travel to Iowa to learn about various aspects of America’s success. Adult participants need opportunities to visit Iowa businesses, organizations, and agencies to learn first-hand how each is managed.
Participants spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days interning with professional mentors. Mentors teach participants about their roles within their organization, what their personal and professional goals are and how they make their goals into a reality.
Participants take these lessons home and learn to implement them into their own culture to enhance their professional prowess. Mentors also benefit from the exchange by learning about the successes and failures of similar organizations around the world.
If your business or organization would be interested in mentoring an intern, giving a tour to a group, or working with IRIS in another manner, please contact us!