Graduation from high school is a big deal. It affects our kids' long-term identity and their potential to generate the income needed to live above the poverty line. Research indicates academic achievement leads to better employment opportunities and, ultimately, long term self-sufficiency.

Starts Right Here (SRH) mentoring programs bridge the gap during critical times in a child's development to keep them on track for the kind of future many of us take for granted.

SRH serves "at-risk" students in grades K-12 in Des Moines, 70% of whom are minorities. We work toward a long-term goal of creating a pool of workers who are educated, equipped, and empowered to build successful lives.

At Starts Right Here, we have the opportunity to help deliver and develop financial literacy programs at our location. Volunteers help with interview preparation, career-building skills, and communication skills. We have fantastic opportunities at our new location to tutor kids after school, volunteer as mentors for kids, and supervise activities they enjoy!

We can break the poverty cycle, and it Starts Right Here!

The PORCH

The Porch 1

Sitting on the front porch is where real, authentic, life-changing conversations start. We've created our own porch inside SRH to create a comfortable environment for kids to talk through life issues.

Lives Changed: 200 kids per year

Second Chance

It's not about what you've been through, but how you get through it. We mentor kids one-on-one through the Des Moines Police Department in an environment where they feel comfortable to open up.

Lives Touched: 100 kids per year

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Polk County Juvenile Detention

SRH works with Polk County Juvenile Detention to provide one-on-one support and communication that inspires hope.

Hope Shared: 20 kids per year

Our students showcase talent using the arts, entertainment, hip hop, music, programs, and a variety of other methods to break down barriers. Give them a vision through another lens. Hope for something different than what they see around them.

Inspiration Sparked: 300 kids per year

"I first met you through the man up program, and I did not know it at the time, but in the years to come, you would have major impact on my life, and I'm writing this comment to let you know that you're one of my biggest idols when we first met I was getting suspended quite often but through the things you told me and through your music I've found that getting in trouble isn't worth it and you're one of the reasons I got into music and one of the reasons I sing so often so thank you, Will, for being such a life changer and showing me that I was headed down the wrong path" – Jason

"Will, I just wanted to tell you that I love you because the way everybody losing their life out here in these streets, we'll never know it might be one of us one day. And if it is one of us, I want to at least let you know that I care about you." – Taymoe

"Thank you so much for coming to Washington High School yesterday! Your story is so inspiring and motivating. You're amazing, God Bless." – Mackenzie

"Thank you for what you do and are trying to do for the black community in bringing everyone together & bring peace among everyone. I see you and know of your work. Keep it up. Thank you again" – Liberty

"What can I say....you have shook the grounds of this city and demanded the youth's attention. In just a short period of time, you affected lives for the better when so many have been headed for their worse. You gave light to their dark situations and still do. Never stop this journey you were placed on. Continue to man handle that shit and be triumphant. I went from hearing people hate and talk shit to respecting everything you do. You're making a change if you know it or not." - Emmanuel

Hearing William Holmes talk to our school today made me realize how out of control myself and people around me are getting. We disrespect teachers, the desks, supplies, lockers, lunchroom, and each other. It's not just at school. It's everywhere! He motivated me to try and change. I know I can, and so can you. Thanks again, Will!" - Neveah

Donate Now to Make An Impact!

Starts Right Here is growing! We can make a difference and create positive change in children's lives because of YOU! Thank you for all you do!