DES MOINES, Iowa — Since its inception in 2010, the non-profit organization Investing in my Future has had one goal: getting students into college.
Right now, the high school dropout rate for African American students in the Des Moines Public School District is just shy of 7%. That number was closer to 9% when the program began.
The program’s mission is to help students realize the importance of attending college. Each year, the group sends 80 students to tour both state institutions as well as historically black colleges and universities, an opportunity many of the students would not otherwise get.
“Not one size fits all, so we try to get them that exposure so that they can figure out what’s best for them and what’s going to fit for them,” says president Mary Wells.
Wells says planting the seed for the state’s future leaders is important, but first they have to believe it for themselves.
“I want to make sure that we are investing so we see these dividends come back to us later with a phone call to say, ‘hey, I’m doing well,'” Wells smiles.
Roosevelt High School sophomore Zion Freeman is already thinking ahead to study engineering in college. The program has sparked his excitement to find the right school by the time he graduates.
“I feel like it’s really important to visit colleges so that when that when I get to my senior year I know more of what I can do and not scrambling to find where I might fit in.”
It costs $50,000 to send all the students on the tour. To give to the tour’s fund, click here.