Rachel Vogel-Quinn

Rachel Vogel-Quinn

Rachel Vogel Quinn is the former Marketing Communications Manager at United Way of Central Iowa.

Recent Posts

Apr 26, 2021 7:15:00 AM

The Girl Who Kept Walking

More than three years after escaping a secretly arranged child marriage in Sudan, 21-year-old Aisha Nyala is on the road to becoming a doctor.


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May 1, 2019 2:38:12 PM

Pain & Circumstance: A Graduation Story

Missy Montero has missed a lot of school. Not just days, not just weeks, or even months. Added up over time, she has missed years of school.

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Mar 27, 2019 12:44:09 PM

The Top-Notch Nurse We Almost Didn't Get

When Rhonnie finished class in the afternoon, she would get into her car, just like other nursing students at Mercy College. But she wouldn’t head home to study. Instead, she would cruise the city, looking for a parking space to spend the night, while silently mouthing that day’s lessons to herself.

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Dec 12, 2018 3:29:00 PM

The Girl Who Walked Through a War

Aisha faced a shattering decision: acquire a husband three times her age (and with three wives already) or forfeit her family and her country. Those were the options her father presented her with in the remote Nuba Mountains of Sudan—one of the most isolated and war-torn regions in the world. She was a 16-year-old from Des Moines. Either choice meant losing her future, her life.

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Dec 10, 2018 4:24:08 PM

The Power to Change a Life

During 25 years of involvement with United Way, Sean Vicente has changed a lot of lives. But the one he is most proud of transforming is his own.

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Sep 6, 2018 12:42:15 PM

Suddenly Homeless

Debra Harrison was having a bad few months. First, she lost her job as a truck driver. Then she was close to losing her apartment in Pennsylvania. Then her mother passed away after a long and difficult illness.

Next came a call from Des Moines.

She says, “I got the news that my daughter had been shot and killed by her soon-to-be ex-husband.”

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Apr 24, 2018 1:07:40 PM

How Many Books Could This 4-Year-Old Carry?

A preschooler's life is changed by United Way of Central Iowa's Book Buddy program, where volunteers read with 4-year-olds twice a week and the students receive a copy of the book each Friday.

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Apr 23, 2018 8:10:19 AM

The Power of High School Girls

The middle school girls clustered up on the starting line in their matching purple T-shirts. They had been practicing for weeks, running around and around the block. When the 5K began, the girls took off, but this was no normal race.

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Apr 12, 2018 6:01:48 PM

Real Men Never Stop Reading

Books were once the exclusive domain of men. As recently as the 19th and early 20th century, women in this country were discouraged from reading, and some were not even taught or allowed to go to school.

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Mar 19, 2018 5:10:59 PM

Hurricane survivors get taxes done for free

Six months ago, Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico with winds up to 175 miles per hour. The storm upended Soleil's life. Fortunately, another Maria was there to help her get back on her feet.

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Mar 19, 2018 1:56:12 PM

Survivor Mom

Stacie didn't realize she was a victim of domestic violence. But by September of 2017, Stacie had gone from a happy mother of two and a registered nurse to a homeless meth addict who had lost her nursing license and custody of her kids.

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Mar 6, 2018 12:19:05 PM

The Friendship that Saved a Family

Lisa has many lessons to teach her four children.

There’s 13-year-old Solomon—smart but anxious, excited about marine biology. 11-year-old Gabriel loves to read and helps around the house with a smile. Isabella, 7 years old and the only girl, is stubborn and independent—an artist and fashionista. The baby of the family—4-year-old Aziyah—is a natural sweetheart. He plays hard and loves to snuggle. His blond curls attract the family’s hands like a puppy’s fur coat.

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Feb 8, 2018 12:56:45 PM

Children's Mental Health Explained

Ashley Bertsch is an early childhood mental health consultant at the child care centers that participate in Book Buddy. Her position is funded by United Way of Central Iowa's Women's Leadership Connection, which is committed to ensuring that our youngest students have the best start in education and in life.

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Sep 12, 2017 11:57:33 AM

The Boy No One Thought Would Go to College

Standing in front of a judge, facing 17 years in prison on drug charges, Matt Gogerty was asked what we wanted to do with his life. At an age when many kids are going off to college and choosing careers, the 18-year-old didn’t even have a high school diploma. He could only think of one reply to the judge’s question: “A used car salesman.”

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Aug 18, 2017 9:01:53 AM

How a hearing-impaired third-grader learned to read

Nine-year-old Breiner Morales speaks three languages: English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. But until last summer, he couldn’t read in any of them.

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Jun 1, 2017 2:04:13 PM

After All the Doors Slam Shut

Two years ago, when she was homeless in Redhead Park on the East Side, living out of a suitcase, sleeping on a bench, and quitting crystal meth cold turkey—Michelle Jackson would have been shocked to know where she'd be in a few months.

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Jun 1, 2017 11:42:36 AM

Bilingual Buddies

When Gema Garcia started volunteering with Book Buddy, she wasn’t sure it was going to work out. Her fears were redoubled early on when the children couldn’t understand her saying the word “worm.” Frustrated, she pointed to the picture and said “gusano” in Spanish. The children immediately understood.

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Apr 30, 2017 5:17:41 PM

Hope is Never Lost

At age 30, Mikeesha came to a crossroads. A single mother of two, she was unemployed and struggling financially—with no clear plan for where to go next.

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Apr 27, 2017 5:16:38 PM

Honor to Read

On the first day of Power Read last fall, 5-year-old Honor was in tears, grabbing books out of his mentor’s hands as he tried to read.

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Apr 21, 2017 1:45:59 PM

Booking Lunch

When Mike and Lynn Sucik arrive at South Union Elementary on Mondays, they have learned to expect a bit of a mess over lunch. The kids forget their napkins. They spill milk or sauce on the table—sometimes even a little on the books. But the mess is worth it. Mike and Lynnand the kidscouldn’t be happier to be there.

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