University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Community Service Projects

The Community Service Project is an integral part of the Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute. It provides an opportunity for trainees to apply lessons and skills learned during the in-person part of the training. All trainees come to the training with experience advocating for their children with special needs at the individual or family level. As they work on their Community Service Projects, they are able to leverage that experience at the community or systems level. Doing so will most likely require new resources and new partners. Individual mentors work with trainees to make connections and develop projects that have impact. Listed below are descriptions of completed Community Service Projects, in the trainees' own words.

2016 Projects

  • I created a one-page profile for my son who is transitioning to middle school The purpose of this profile is to provide the new school team with information about him beyond his IEP - Glenwood, IA
  • My project was to participate as a parent representative in a Family Education Partner group, helping to redesign the role of this group in the state - Vinton, IA
  • I chose to spread more awareness about epilepsy. My grandson has been treated with anti-seizure medications and a keto-genetic diet. I have had to learn a lot about seizure disorders, so I wanted to help others increase their awareness - Maquoketa, IA
  • I created a Families as Faculty project modeled after a similar project from New Mexico - Independence, IA
  • I designed an All About Me page for parents to fill out about their special needs child. This tells teachers about a child's diagnosis, what works well for them, and their triggers - Iowa City, IA
  • My project was to develop a sustainable method to share information about transition services with parents through social media and an email newsletter - Cedar Rapids, IA
  • I filmed a seminar titled "LGBTQIA+ What Do the Letters Mean?" I also completed an extensive list of resources for views who wanted to learn more about the topics in my presentation - Iowa City, IA
  • I collaborated with Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation to produce a video for family members and guardians about integrated employment - Dubuque, IA
  • I have partnered with others in my are to start the only AMBUCS┬áchapter in Iowa - Hudson, IA
  • My project was to introduce the Gallup StrengthsQuest inventory to the paraprofessional team at my children's school - Dubuque, IA

2017 Projects

  • I created a Top 10 List of resources┬áto help children with special needs thrive, access critical services and supports, and decrease family stress during the first few years of life or following a diagnosis. It gives families a place to start - Decorah, IA
  • I created the Iowa Hydrocephalus Association Community Network to meet the needs of parents of children with hydrocephalus for support, education, and advocacy - Cedar Rapids, IA
  • I created an Autism Connections Group in my county to provide information and support to families of children with autism and help them locate community resources - Dubuque, IA
  • I created a model for a parent panel to provide education about the types of waivers available to Iowa families and how waivers have impacted their lives - Iowa City, IA
  • I developed a plan for supporting families of children with mental health needs and learning disabilities in my community - Iowa City, IA
  • I partnered with Iowa's Early ACCESS program to create a digital story about my experience without receiving early intervention services - Oelwein, IA
  • I developed a plan to work with lawmakers to amend an Iowa law to protect children with special needs from bullying in schools - Riverside, IA
  • I developed a website to house autism resources for families in central Iowa - Des Moines, IA
  • I created a resource folder for teachers in my school district with information about "invisible" disabilities: dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, and nonverbal learning disabilities - Clinton, IA

2018 Projects

  • I formed the Southwest Iowa Autism Support Group, which planned a sensory-friendly holiday event - Shenandoah, IA
  • I researched caregiver resilience and advocates with several providers to implement a caregiver resilience screening tool - Shell Rock, IA
  • I plan to address the scarcity of resources and isolation of parents in northwest Iowa with a support group to connect parents and caregivers of children with special needs - Sheldon, IA
  • I created a social media group for gender nonconforming children on the autism spectrum - Des Moines, IA
  • I made a plan to organize speakers and find funding for a support group in my community - Carroll, IA
  • I formed a support, empowerment, and advocacy group for families of children with disabilities living in my area - Estherville, IA
  • I developed a "Places to Play" list of recreational areas accessible to children with special needs and their families - Grimes, IA
  • I developed a Facebook page for Iowa families of children with Cerebral Palsy - Glidden, IA
  • I made a plan to educate my community's first responders about safety for children with special needs and restore funding for a local Project Lifesaver - Hawarden, IA
  • I plan to offer peer-based support to parents facing a prenatal diagnosis who choose to carry to term - Amana, IA
  • I created a resource guide for parents whose premature children are being discharged from a hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - Sloane, IA
  • I created a plan to provide guidance to school districts about considering a student's IEP when administering a good conduct violation in extracurricular activities - Mount Vernon, IA
  • I created a plan to make the Home- and Community-Based Services waiver application process more understandable for families of children with special health care needs - Des Moines, IA

2019 Projects

  • I created a parent support group in my community, starting with an ice cream social and family water balloon fight - Ainsworth, IA
  • I partnered with social workers in my school district to create a resource list for parents of children with special health care needs - Tiffin, IA
  • I worked with my AEA to schedule a special education training for families children with special health care needs - West Liberty, IA
  • I met with school administrators to discuss the need for training for teachers on Autism Spectrum Disorder - Dike, IA
  • I worked to create an online site to promote caregiver to caregiver communication and a foundation to fund self-care strategies - Oelwein, IA
  • I created a Facebook page to educate people about improving their quality of life through health - Cedar Rapids, IA
  • I created to strategies to educate my community about deaf culture - Davenport, IA
  • I planned a community activity for families of children with special needs so siblings would meet one another and find support - Oelwein, IA
  • I developed a plan to connect families of children with special needs in my area - West Burlington, IA
  • In collaboration with my school district, I developed para-educator resources for support Autism Spectrum Disorders - Fort Dodge, IA