Friday, November 27, 2015

Iowa Non-Profits to Partner with Combat Paper Project!

Fine art print by Combat Paper Project co-founder Drew Cameron
In a media release coinciding with the National Day of Listening Nov. 27, 2015, Central Iowa non-profits Paws & Effect and Iowa Remembers, Inc. announced plans for a series of 2016 arts events in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro area, in partnership with the Combat Paper Project, San Francisco.

The effort will incorporate paper-making and visual arts workshops, storytelling, and exhibits focused on bridging the cultural gaps among civilians, and those who serve in uniform. The Woods production company will capture the events on video. Dates and times are to be determined, with workshops occurring in spring 2016, and arts exhibits in fall 2016.

Paws & Effect, a Des Moines, Iowa-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and others, will supply some of the workshop participants. These include military veterans and service members, as well as civilian rescue workers who deployed to New York City following the terrorist attacks there Sept., 11, 2001.

Several families who have lost loved ones in combat-related circumstances will also participate in the workshops. Iowa Remembers, Inc. is a Bondurant, Iowa-based 501(c)(3) non-profit that conducts events that commemorate those Iowans who have died in service to their country since 2001, and that support their surviving family members. The group is best-known for its annual 5k Iowa Remembrance Run fund-raiser, which draws fields of more than 1,000 runners and walkers to West Des Moines' Raccoon River Park.

"Together, these stories express a breadth of experience about Iowans, and the ways they have been affected by war," says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate. "This project has already been harrowing, heartbreaking, gratifying, revealing and very, very human."

Says Iowa Remembers, Inc. Executive Director Heather Johnson, "We look forward to honoring these stories with honesty and integrity, and for continuing to find new and compelling ways to remember and celebrate our fellow Iowans."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writing Contest Seeks Haiku About Human-Animal Bonds

Central Iowa non-profit Paws & Effect, in conjunction with publishers Middle West Press LLC, is conducting a Second Annual writing and art contest celebrating bonds among humans and animals. Winners and finalists will be selected in youth (up to age 16) and adult categories. Deadline is Sat., Jan. 9, 2016. There is no entry fee.

Finalists will be recognized with a special print publication of their work, which will be presented at Paws & Effect's annual "One Heart, Four Paws" Valentine's Day reception.

"We chose the haiku because of the form's familiarity and accessibility, whether you're a grade-schooler or graduate student," says Middle West Press editor Randy Brown. "We also want people to focus on moments, interactions with animals in the home, in nature, and at work."

Established in 2006 and based in Des Moines, Paws & Effect is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. The group also registers therapy animals through Pet Partners, and regularly hosts NADAC-sanctioned dog-agility events for fun and fund-raising. Its new Beaverdale neighborhood storefront also serves as a training center, as well as home base to Troop 232 of the Dog Scouts of America.

"Through our training and just-for-fun activities, community outreach projects, book club meetings, and even writing and art contests, we are always looking for ways to engage each other in conversations—about how we relate to animals, and how we relate to each other in society,
says Paws & Effect Executive Director Nicole Shumate."

Only one submission per entrant. Send up to five (5) haiku in a single word-processing file via Submittable, or by postal mail to:
Paws & Effect haiku contest
c/o Middle West Press
P.O. Box 31099
Johnston, Iowa 50131-9428
All hardcopy entries become the property of Paws & Effect and will not be returned.

Entrants aged 15 and younger may choose to submit short poetry that varies from the haiku form, and/or visual artwork.

For the purposes of the contest, a haiku poem will:
  • Consist of three lines; each respectively comprising 5, 7, and 5 syllables each, for a total of 17.
  • Ideally incorporate a reference to one of the four seasons, or to nature.
Entries will be judged on factors such as: originality, creativity, humor, and adherence to the specified haiku format.