DES MOINES, Iowa — Creative Visions has played an important role in the community for decades. The work being done at it has helped make Des Moines a safer place to live.
The non-profit organization is celebrating a major milestone this weekend. Its mission over the years has been clear but continuing to carry out that mission is becoming more difficult.
Creative Visions founder, Ako Abdul-Samad, calls the building his sanctuary. He created the safe haven for the community 25 years ago.
“When we opened the doors in 1996, it was always the fact that we didn’t want to boil the ocean. We wanted to focus in on the issues in this community,” said Abdul-Samad.
Gang violence was at the forefront at that time and it was tearing apart the community and his own family.
“He taught me how to talk with individuals … He’s the one who gave me the idea of removing the mask that a lot of us wear and we have to just to survive,” Abdul-Samad explained.
That became the catalyst for Creative Visions; helping people find hope and purpose. Stories of success cover the walls of the building that sits at the corner of 13th Street and Forest Avenue. They remind him of the strides made and of the stalled progress.
“It’s been a long 25 years, only because we’ve seen things get worse and not better. So it’s made it longer because you are looking at having to find more resources for the people that we are here to help,” said Abdul-Samad.
Cuts in funding and dwindling donations means the organization is struggling to operate as it.
“We used have people that wanted to stop violence so bad that they invested well. Now what happens is you have individuals working in silos. Donors are not looking at it as an investment but a charity and if you look at it as a charity you are looking to make cosmetic changes,” Abdul-Samad said.
The organization is looking to raise between $50,000 and $75,000 at its fundraiser and anniversary celebration this weekend. To contribute to the organizations efforts, click here.