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Unity and Belonging at City High: The After School Edition

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

I Belong is a college-prep program for high school students that focuses on self-improvement and preparation for a future past high school.

“I Belong has made a real impact in my life,” a student commented about the program. “It has helped me to be a better student, daughter, and community member in today’s society.”

The organization meets on Mondays and Wednesdays after school in the Student Advisory Center. The program director, Fred Newell, has been at City High for some time now and is also the founder of the Dream Center in Iowa City. He created the I Belong program to empower the Iowa City youth and to become a support system along with a helping hand. The program creates strong relationships between peers and the community.

“They create a positive space for me to feel comfortable,” another student attending I Belong said.

Students participating in I Belong participate in a number of activities. There are academic days that focus on homework, community projects that give back to the community with volunteering, and college tours.

This year, I Belong is hoping to raise money for the students in the program so they could do yearly things like college trips etc. Students have started holding fundraisers by selling food, holding clothing drives, and participating in volunteering opportunities.

The organization has also taught students to become leaders.

“I am a leader at heart, and it motivates me to keep going by seeing others be the best they can be, and being someone people confide in,” one student responded.

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