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YMOC23 Executive Summary

The Greater Des Moines Conference for Young Men of Color 2023, held at Drake University's Olmsted Center, was a transformative event bringing together 250 attendees from Greater Des Moines and beyond. Sponsored by Drake University, Broadlawns Medical Center, Wells Fargo, Athene, and United Way of Central Iowa, this conference, centered around the theme "Ownership", aimed to empower young men of color in taking control of their lives across various dimensions.


The event was spearheaded by Hip Hope's Executive Director, Bo James, and was led by Conference Co-Chairs Lenny Bell and Louis Fountain. Throughout the conference, a series of workshops and plenary sessions were designed to resonate with the theme, encouraging attendees to take ownership of their lives.

The day commenced with an invigorating plenary session. Hosted by Rob Johnson, attendees were welcomed by Drake University’s Dr. Craig Owens, Broadlawn’s Medical Center’s President and CEO Dr. Anthony Coleman. The keynotes from leaders like Dr. Dau Jok and Iowa State Rep. AKO Abdul-Samad set the tone for "Ownership" and a call to action for the community.

YMOC23 IMPACT STATEMENT Transformative Experience: YMOC23, themed around "Ownership," aimed to empower young men of color to take control of their lives. The event became a beacon of empowerment and inspiration, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of the attendees. Key Highlights: Diverse Participation: Over 500 meals were served, involving 20 dedicated volunteers, 25 mentors, and 5 exhibitors. Collaborative Engagement: The conference featured 6 breakout sessions, with over 40 community partners actively involved in the planning and facilitation process. Community Commitment: Hip-Hope, the driving force behind YMOC23, is committed to making hope happen. Through mobilization, organization, strategic planning, and effective execution, Hip-Hope champions community betterment projects. Our commitment goes beyond events; it's about creating a positive ripple effect that resonates in the lives of those we touch. Impact and Inclusivity: Empowering Through Education: Workshops, such as 'Speak Your Peace/Know Your Power,' 'Creator U/Make Money with Your Passion,' and 'Manhood: A Right of Passage,' provided practical insights and guidance for personal development. Networking and Collaboration: The event fostered connections with 25 mentors, encouraging ongoing support and mentorship essential for the attendees' growth.  Post-Survey Highlights: Fun and Educational: Post-surveys showed that 89% of young men found YMOC23 fun, and 100% considered it educational. Exceeding Expectations: 78% of attendees stated that the conference met or exceeded their expectations. Recommendation and Future Engagement: 92% expressed the intention to invite a friend or loved one next year, and 85% expressed interest in Hip-Hope hosting more events like YMOC23 throughout the year. Hopeful and Supported: An overwhelming 98% felt more hopeful and supported after attending YMOC23. Positive Dining Experience: 98% liked the continental breakfast and pasta lunch options provided during the event. Inspiration and Skill Development: Guest Speakers: 93% of attendees reported being inspired by the guest speakers. Keynote and Special Guest Panel: An impressive 98% found inspiration in the keynote address and the special guest panel. Neck Tie Activity: 67% revealed that it was their first time tying a necktie, and an overwhelming 98% enjoyed and benefited from the necktie activity. Digital Access Initiative: Free Mobile Hot Spots: FOCUS Inc. distributed 103 free mobile hot spots with 2-year internet service to ensure that these young men have the access to the tools they need to Win, Win, Win!. Community Partnerships: Extensive Representation: Over 40 community partners were actively involved, contributing to the success and inclusivity of the conference. Hope in Action: Hip-Hope believes that Hope is not just a concept; it's a catalyst for positive change. When hope happens, we are together. When hope happens, we are better. The success of YMOC23 is a testament to what can be achieved when hope becomes a driving force in community initiatives. Acknowledgment: We extend our heartfelt appreciation to our sponsors, volunteers, mentors, exhibitors, and community partners. Your collective efforts have made a significant impact on the lives of these young men. ​Join the Movement: This is not just a conference; it's a movement. Join us in empowering young men of color, transforming futures, and making Greater Des Moines even Greater!

“It’s About Time!” Many of the issues that Young Men Of Color face today are outdated, and many of the approaches that address said issues are antiquated, therefore resolution is overdue.  It's about time that Hip and contemporary solutions are presented, supported and executed. Not only that, it is imperative that Young Men Of Color learn the value of time, how to manage time and how to leverage time in order to achieve success in a timely manner, since most of their circumstances demand urgent response. GDMC4YMC 2023‘s programming will focus on time management, leveraging time and achieving short term goals that set up long term success.

​-Bo James / Hip-Hope Inc. - Founder/Executive Director

​- YMOC PURPOSE AND GOALS - A GREATER DES MOINES CONFERENCE FOR YOUNG MEN OF COLOR, “Win Win Win… It's about time!” Des Moines is greater when Young Men Of Color are maximizing their interests, skills, strengths and TIME.  YMOC is one of Hip-Hope’s flagship initiatives mobilizing mentors, dignitaries, educators, caregivers, corporations, organizations and institutions around hundreds middle and high school Young Men Of Color. Our perpetual purpose is to improve academic disparities and social inequities by equipping society’s most challenged population with Win, Win, Win support, opportunities and guidance towards achieving a privileged quality of life. GDMC4YMC‘s goals are always to INFORM all participants of the current social and academic status concerning YMOC’s health, education and safety, ILLUSTRATE how time can be positively utilized to counter social and academic challenges helping them CREATE empowerment tools within a relatively short period of time,  CULTIVATE counter-pipelines by identifying and engaging participants in relevant areas of interests and strengths, CELEBRATE YMOC’s talents and accomplishments, EMPOWER all participants during and after the conference with tools to help improve their health, education and safety through time management, COORDINATE with community stakeholders, ACKNOWLEDGE Community Champions who advocate to make Greater Des Moines Greater for Young Men Of Color.

-2022 Sponsors-
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