Home Official News Releases Drake series explores issues of home, homelessness and immigration

Drake series explores issues of home, homelessness and immigration

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Andrew Allen is honored as the Juice Young Professional of the Year.

Drake University’s choral program will continue a series of presentations on issues of immigration, homelessness and housing on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

The free, public talk will feature Andrew Allen, who overcame a troubled childhood to become a mentor and volunteer dedicated to youth. He will discuss issues of homelessness from 5:15-6:15 p.m. in Sheslow Auditorium, 2507 University Ave.


 Allen, a community investment consultant at Principal Financial Group, recently received the inaugural Juice Young Professional of the Year Award. This honor recognizes central Iowans younger than age 35 who have given to their communities through volunteering and other efforts.

Since overcoming his troubled childhood, Allen has helped become a mentor and volunteer dedicated to youth. He has helped secure millions of dollars in support of youth services in central Iowa for organizations such as Youth and Shelter Services, Iowa Homeless Youth Centers and Reggie’s Sleepout.

Gov. Chet Culver appointed him to sit on the state’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Council, and last year he was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice.

The series of presentations will provide context for an upcoming performance by Drake Choir, Chamber Choir and Drake University/Community Chorus.


The concert, “Where You Belong,” is designed to help singers and listeners connect to key societal issues through music and to elicit a spirit of service in the community.


“Choral music is an especially important vehicle for helping people to understand that they are part of something much larger than themselves,” said Aimee Beckmann-Collier, Drake professor of conducting.


“By singing texted music from a variety of eras, styles and countries, singers and their audiences are made more aware of the common aspirations of humans across space and time.”


The concert will start at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 18, in Sheslow Auditorium in Old Main, 2507 University Ave.


The presentation series will continue on Tuesday evenings from 5:15-6:15 p.m. in Sheslow Auditorium. The topics and speakers for upcoming discussions are listed below:

  • Feb. 9 – “The Postville Story and the Demographics of Immigration,” by Sister Mary McCauley, pastoral administrator of St. Bridget Church in Postville, Iowa, and Mark Grey, professor of anthropology at the University of Northern Iowa
  • Feb. 16 – “Safe and Affordable Housing,” by Sister Stella Neill, founder and director of Anawim Housing in Des Moines
  • Feb. 23 – “The Refugee Experience,” by Sol Varisco, program director of outreach services at Catholic Charities in Des Moines
  • March 2 – Volunteer Fair, featuring 15 local agencies that provide help for immigrants, refugees and individuals dealing with housing issues