You hardly have to tell Drake students that Des Moines is a hotbed of active young adults.
Juice Magazine, the branch of the Des Moines Register newspaper dedicated to young adults, appreciates how much the young people are contributing to the city. Each year, the magazine holds a contest called the Juice Young Professionals Award, recognizing a central Iowan resident under the age of 35 who has “made substantial contributions to the quality of life in Des Moines, through social, charitable, civic or entertainment efforts.” Though the award only started in 2009, it has become a major honor for those who give back.
Perhaps nobody better exemplifies this persona than Andrew Allen of Nevada, Iowa, who won the award in 2010. An outstanding senior community investment consultant with the Principal Financial Group, Allen helps clients with long-term investment planning, as well as serving as the head of global charitable giving and community outreach for Principal.
Allen’s road to success was not the easiest path. He was arrested for his first felony at age 10, and was sent to a rehab clinic at age 17. He credits the clinic as the beginning of his efforts to turn his life around. He managed to graduate from Iowa State and joined Principal as an IT applications analyst. As he worked his way up the corporate ladder, he became more involved with the charity aspect of his job.
Allen knew he wanted to help adolescents in situations similar to his, who didn’t have the most promising future but desperately wanted to turn their lives around.
He is no stranger to adversity and said he believes that if people get the help and support they need, there’s no reason why they can’t succeed. Allen has also earned the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award at Iowa State, earned a spot on the Des Moines’ Business Record’s 40 under 40, and was inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame.
The ideal nominee for the Juice award is an active member of the community and hold positions or offices to prove it, is successful in his or her job or major, gives time and effort for charity and overall acts as a role model that young adults can take an interest in.
Fortunately, the Drake campus is crawling with active and ambitious students that fit this description. The application to nominate somebody for the award is simple but succinct: the magazine wants to know how the nominee excels in his or her professional field, and how the nominee helped the community through charitable, civic or entertainment efforts.
After reading the nominations, an independent panel of judges will choose five finalists, then one winner.
Competition for the award is steep and rigorous, but Juice wants applicants from all backgrounds, including the humble college student. Nominations for the 2011 award are due next Monday at noon.