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Reach Out to Dropouts


United Way of Central Iowa, Des Moines Public School leaders and corporate sponsor Aviva USA have declared the second-annual Reach Out to Dropouts event a definite success.

On Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, 170 volunteers and 75 school staff walked door-to-door to visit 480 high school students who had not shown up for school during the first weeks of the academic year.

Of those, 14 students re-enrolled and 31 more plan to follow up with their school in the days ahead. Another 43 youth have earned or are working toward their GED.

“Helping even one dropout return to school would be worth the effort,” says United Way President Shannon Cofield. “Thanks to the outpouring of community support, we were able to encourage over 100 youth to return to school and stay on track to graduate over the past two years. Ensuring youth graduate on time is United Way’s top Education goal for our community.”

Corporate sponsor Aviva USA led the effort with 28 volunteers.

Reach Out to Dropouts is just one prong in a series of initiatives spearheaded by United Way of Central Iowa and Des Moines Public Schools called Destination Graduation. Other Destination Graduation initiatives are Academic Support Labs; an Early Indicator System that identifies at-risk students as early as elementary school; and Communities in Schools, a nationally-renowned coordinated approach to social and human services needed by at-risk students and their families.

For more information about dropout prevention programs and services or to re-enroll, call Des Moines Public Schools at 242-8500 or e-mail



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