In a time of economic hardship, young people are finding many ways to donate to various causes.
Aaron Ehrlich, a Drake University sophomore, seized an opportunity to make an unconventional donation to Anawim Housing, a non-profit organization near the school’s campus. Music major Ehrlich came to Drake from Ankeny, Iowa on a scholarship for his clarinet skills and is a member of the school’s wind symphony, Drake Jazz I group and the campus ministry organization. Talented at piano, guitar, clarinet, saxophone and keyboard, Ehrlich donated an original piece of his music which Anawim incorporated into several video tours of its properties.
“I saw it as an opportunity to make some new music and share my gifts,” Ehrlich said.
Celebrating its 25th year in 2012, Anawim Housing’s mission is to develop stable homes and strengthen communities. The organization places eligible families in refurbished housing units throughout the Des Moines area, works with contractors to build new townhomes and apartments for tenants and offers property management services to other organizations.
Because many people are suffering due to economic conditions, Anawim is working hard to ensure that members of the Des Moines community have safe and affordable places to go home to. With the help of donors and volunteers from all over the country, Anawim is able to create homes for over 1,200 people.
This isn’t the first time Anawim has been affiliated with Drake University. Last spring, students majoring in public relations presented the organization with public relations campaigns researched and designed throughout the school year. Anawim hopes to continue relationships with the university.
“Volunteering is such an important aspect of the college experience because it not only makes you feel good, but it helps you find out what you like and what you’re good at,” said Ehrlich.
Because only 21 percent of Anawim’s revenue comes from donations, the organization is happy to work with volunteers of any age or skill level. People with skills in general landscaping, office duties and marketing services always are welcome. Language translators are particularly needed, as the organization has tenants from five continents with more people with international backgrounds always applying.
Ehrlich volunteers for several other organizations throughout Des Moines and plans on helping Anawim in the future.
“It feels really go to know I have found a unique way to support this cause that gives so much to the community,” Ehrlich said.