Champion for youth in schools wins statewide award

Caleb Thomas and Strive for Success work hard to help area students

DES MOINES, IA (08/09/2017) (readMedia)-- Caleb Thomas, executive director of Strive for Success in Iowa City received the Iowa State Education Association's Paul Mann Memorial Human Relations Award. Thomas was presented with his award on Monday, July 31 before a group of more than 400 ISEA members attending the Celebration of Excellence Awards banquet in Des Moines.

The Paul Mann Memorial Human Relations Award honors an individual or group for exemplary contributions toward the advancement of human and civil rights. It is named in honor of the late Paul Mann, a long-time union activist from Des Moines who championed civil and human rights causes. The award recognizes contributions of individuals and/or groups, while encouraging others in their human and civil rights efforts, and fosters development of programs for the advancement and protection of human and civil rights among ISEA members.

Strive for Success works with at-risk youth at their most vulnerable ages – 3rd through 8th grade in after-school programs designed to help kids achieve academically, personally and socially. The organization works with students to provide academic tutoring in reading and math and helps build personal and social success in school and society. The program's goals are to promote academic achievement, participate in learning projects, enhance career development, increase self-awareness, focus on college preparation and strengthen the family unit.

"Character building and positive self-esteem are important components in development and growth and Caleb and Strive for Success work hard to provide kids with the tools they need to grow in these areas. Too many students lack the extra support they need to reach their goals and having an organization that works with area schools and families to bridge this gap is wonderful," said Tammy Wawro, ISEA President. "It is a total community effort that should be emulated in schools and communities across the state. We are proud to honor Caleb for his hard work and efforts on behalf of our students," Wawro added.


The ISEA is a professional organization made up of educators and school employees who are dedicated to supporting and protecting a quality public education for all Iowa students.