Updated: Oct 31, 2019
Students got “groovy” on skates for a ’70s-theme night as they participated in the first-ever Roll Bounce.
The roller-skating extravaganza was held on Feb. 10 in the IMU Main Lounge, put on by the Afro American Cultural Center. The event benefited the Dream Center of Iowa City, which works to empower families in the Iowa City/Johnson County area through a variety of programs including providing mentors to new/struggling parents, fatherhood programs, fine-arts programs, and student leadership programs.
Afro House was tasked with putting on a series of events for Black History Month, one of which became the Feb. 10 event. The idea behind Roll Bounce was to have a fun event that benefited members of the immediate community.
There was a large glow-in-the-dark floor for skating, cases of water, glow sticks, and balloons scattered across the floor, and many skates set up in bins across the space.
Junior Arika Allen, a member of the Black History committee, said she believes the event is important because of the effect it has on the community while also providing students with a fun Saturday night.
“We’re all here for a good time and to celebrate Black History,” she said. “This is something that we haven’t seen on this campus before … while we’re having a good time, we’re giving back to the community as well.”
The Dream Center was founded in 2012 by Fredrick Newell, originally formed to help families with absent fathers. However, it became apparent that the center would have to expand its reach to encompass a host of different issues.
Newell said he believes that the biggest accomplishment as an organization has been the remarkable changes it has seen in the children the program began with.
“It’s hard to say what our biggest accomplishment is, but I would say the number of youth we have been able to serve has been one thing we are definitely proud of, as well as to see so many of our first group of young men in 2012 now in colleges across the state of Iowa as well as one on a full-ride scholarship in Minnesota,” Newell said. “Also, to see the number of fathers we have connected to their children has been amazing to witness.”
Dream is in the process of re-forming its Responsible Individuals Striving for Excellence program. It is geared toward high-school students and was formerly known as iBelong.
At present, the Dream Center wants to reach a minimum fundraising goal and find a good base membership before launching the program.
The funds raised by Roll Bounce will be put toward helping the youth programs already in progress at the Dream Center as well as helping the center purchase a new van. Newell said the money comes at a crucial time.
“This is a critical time in our community when it comes to the development of our youth, so any donation small or big makes a difference in the lives of the youth and families we serve,” he said.
Afro House coordinator Jamal Nelson said he wanted to create an event that would be fun for the community, and he hopes to see similar events in the future.
“I would love Roll Bounce to get to a point where it is constantly happening every year,” Nelson said.