Flowers, art and fundraising for a good cause at United Action for Youth’s Festival of Flowers

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UAY’s 13th Annual Festival of Flowers

Hilton Garden Inn, Iowa City — Thursday, May 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Participants in UAY’s Festival of Flowers and their projects. — photo courtesy of UAY

It will be a night of flowers, art and raising money to support young people in need as United Action for Youth (UAY) hosts it 13th annual Festival of Flowers on Thursday night.

The Festival of Flowers is a fundraiser that has become a UAY tradition, featuring artists ranging from professionals to young people making their first efforts. All the artists submit flower-based projects to be displayed and auctioned at the event. The theme for this year is “Fashion and Flowers,” and a youth fashion show will take place between the silent auction starting the night and the live auction that begins at 7 p.m. Along with the flowers and the fashion, there will be hors d’oeuvres, wine and dessert.

UAY has provided a variety of programs for the youth of Johnson County and its surrounding counties since the nonprofit opened its doors in 1970. According to UAY Development Director Mickey Hampton, the nonprofit has two main divisions, one focused on prevention and one focused on intervention.

Prevention mainly consists of youth enrichment programs. “It’s prevention in the sense that its providing a safe place for young people to hang out, get support they need, gain encouragement, gain confidence, have a safe place where they can be themselves,” Hampton said.

While prevention efforts work to avert crises, intervention programs help those “in the midst” of them, Hampton said. “[W]e have a counseling program, we have a teen parent program that supports young parents who are…trying to figure out how to be parents and how to hold a job down and how to be in school,” she explained.

Participants working on projects for UAY Festival of Flowers. — photo courtesy of UAY

Local businesses including Forever Green Inc., Moss – Iowa City and Every Bloomin’ Thing either donated materials or offered discounts on items for the Flower Festival projects.

Hampton said such partnerships are important for UAY’s mission and create “an opportunity for the work that UAY does to be seen or to be visible out in the community.”

Hampton pointed to one of UAY’s upcoming partnerships in which the nonprofit is working with the Iowa City Downtown District to give young people a chance to create a wall mural with professional artist Sayuri Sasaki Hemann.

“The kids will also learn a lot about the process of working with a professional artist,” Hampton said, and the mural on the wall of the U.S. Bank building facing the Iowa City Senior Center “will be something that they can be really proud of and say that they had a hand in doing.”

The Festival of Flowers starts at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at the second floor ballroom of the Hilton Garden Inn. Tickets are $40, which includes hors d’oeuvres, wine and dessert. All proceeds will go to fund UAY’s counseling, teen parent and youth enrichment programs.

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