PLANET — Power, Learning and Advancement through Next-generation Education and Technology

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Creative Visions
City & State:
Des Moines, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

Creative Visions is a human-development center dedicated to creating more productive citizens, more viable neighborhoods and a safer environment for the entire community. By engaging youth who are urban culturally patterned and "lost to the streets" in a customized, holistic program of self-development, from which they can achieve a self-sufficient lifestyle and sustainable employment and create realistic hopes and goals rather than participate in gang activity, ender-ground economics and drug trade.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

PLANET (Power, Learning and Advancement through Next-generation Education and Technology) is Creative Visions' all-encompassing project and vision, aimed at enhancing and expanding our services to more effectively serve our community's needs.

Creative Visions has been able to expand and improve our existing services, while also being able to provide new resources to our community through our use of Microsoft’s Products and Technologies.The core of PLANET is Creative Visions' Community Resource Center. This center consists of a 15 client computer lab, and four computers that are tied into the Iowa Workforce Development Center's network.

Our computer lab is a multi-faceted center that is the hub of many of our services. The computers, each running Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise, and loaded with Microsoft Office 2007 Professional Plus Edition are available to individuals both participating in our programming, as well as those who would otherwise not have access to a computer.

This technology enables us to provide programs to empower our community. Most of our existing programs have been able to come to fruition as a direct result of this center.

Creative Visions' Alternative-Suspension Program

Creative Visions' Alternative-Suspension Program is designed to enable youth who have been suspended from school to become empowered to change themselves to maximize their potential through making better decisions and staying in school. Rather than staying at home or doing other activities, these students make the choice to come to Creative Visions during the time of their suspension. The resource center is critical to this program as it allows students to continue learning what they are missing while out of school. This program has been significantly improved by the availability of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office Products. As much of our student's coursework involves using Microsoft Word and/or the Internet, our students are able to come to our center and use the applications that are familiar to them from the school setting.

Creative Visions' Young Men's and Women's Groups

Our young men's and young women's groups meet weekly. Comprised of middle school students, these groups are designed to educate and empower these young individuals to ensure that they have the knowledge and strength to make good decisions for themselves and their families. Through the technology provided by Microsoft, these groups have been able to do research projects using the Internet and Microsoft Office Products. Because of this technology, we have been able to reach out to youth through more interesting and engaging projects. This in turn has generated a new-found interest in our program, increasing the number of students participating in our groups. On some weeks, we have a game-night where participants can come to our center and play games on two Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles.

Creative Visions' Employment Assistance Program

The Creative Visions' Employment Assistance Program was created in response to our community needing an employment-assistance center with bi-lingual (English and Español) capabilities. Our program is all-inclusive, providing a structured program consisting of both traditional services (job postings/searches, resume making, interviewing tips and simulations, etc.) and non-traditional services (ensuring applicants have appropriate clothing for an interview, following up with the employer & employee after the hire to provide mentoring support, ensuring that the applicant has an all-encompassing plan to cover items including transportation and child care, etc). With our updated lab, applicants are now able to come and learn how to build their resumes, and participate in the Creative Visions' Computer Education Program (see next program).

Creative Visions' Computer Education Program

The Creative Visions' Computer Education Program is quite possibly the program that has seen the biggest effect of the incorporation of Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 technologies. This program is composed to educate persons with limited knowledge of computer technology. This 12-16 week program allows students of the program to learn how to operate Microsoft Windows Vista and utilize Microsoft Office Applications. From this course people have been able to advance themselves in the classroom environment, at the workplace or in their own home.

By educating them on the latest Microsoft technologies, we are able to ensure that they are prepared to work with the technology that they find in the home, classroom, and/or office space.

In addition to this program we have partnered with area businesses to provide people who complete our program with a computer. We take area businesses' used computers that they would otherwise discard. We re-load them with the original operating system, and an open source office application suite. This enables our graduates to continue to learn, at their own pace and in their own home.

Although this is just a sample of the profound impact that the use of Microsoft products have had on our programs, it is a good representation of how we have improved both our services, and our community.

There is an old African proverb that Creative Visions lives by:

If you want to prosper in a year, you grow rice;if you riches in ten years, you grow trees;if you want wealth that you want to pass from generation to generation, you grow men and women.

Creative Visions grows men and women. There is no doubt that the investment of Microsoft's Products and Technology has improved our ability to both reach out and better serve our community. Our use of technology in our programming is pivotal to our past success

Please visit the PLANET website at to read more about our use of technology and the way that this technology impacts our community.

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact
Project Image