Strive for Success exists to provide academic tutoring to help students who are behind in reading and math, achieve grade level proficiency and higher. We work to ensure personal and social success in school and society.
— Caleb Thomas, Executive Director, Strive for Success

Strive for Success (SFS) is a Faith Based Christ-Centered 501(c)3 non-profit designed to helping at-risk youth, grades 3-12, in Iowa City, and surrounding areas be successful in school, life and society.  Our mission is to help at-risk youth reach their potential by providing specialized academic tutoring and services that enrich both the student and their family. 

We work with 9-12th grade students on real world readiness by helping them prepare for a future where they can attend college or a vocational school. Our work focuses on helping our students and their parents navigate through the process of college and or vocational school preparation. Students who follow our program from 3rd-12th grade will be provided a financial scholarship to pursue higher education, to attend a Vocational School, or a 4-year College/University.

Strive for Success focuses on students from low socio-economic backgrounds and not limited exclusively to, but with a heightened awareness and sensitivity for those with one or more parent(s) incarcerated and no high school diploma.


The Program Goals Are:

  • Promote academic achievement
  • Participate in service learning projects
  • Enhance career development
  • Increase self- awareness
  • Focus on college preparation
  • Strengthen the family unit

The Program Objectives Are:

  • Individualized academic instruction
  • Increase community stewardship
  • Positive relationships with mentors
  • Involving youth in leadership positions
  • Enhance life skills awareness
  • Improve conflict resolution skills

Academic and Life Transforming Programs:

Goal 1: Individualized Academic Instruction
Administer  Reading & Math Assessments
Quiz monthly on reading and math progress
Monitor academic/behavior progress at the school

Goal 2: Positive Mentoring Relationships
On-Site adult to peer mentoring
U of Iowa music instruction
U of I education field trips

Goal 3: Involving Youth in Leadership Positions
Work with STEM Initiative Programs
College/Vocational Preparation
Lego League Project

Goal 4: Increase Life Skills knowledge
Tar Wars tobacco prevention
Personal Safety Training
Junior Achievement Program

Goal 5: Increase Community Stewardship
Volunteering for Crisis Center Of Johnson County
Volunteering for East Side Recycling Program
Elderly Care/Nursing Facility Visits

Goal 6: Learning Healthy Conflict Resolution Skills
Informative Biblical Teachings
Individual/Group Counseling
Positive Self-Esteem Building Skills