Zip Code Project launches, aims to assist youth

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas kicked off the Phoenix launch of the Zip Code Project, a program at the Arizona Department of Education that assists disconnected youth.

At a Thursday, April 27 press conference, integral members of the education community spoke to the continued development of the Zip Code Project in Phoenix neighborhoods, in addition to the work already accomplished in other parts of the state.

“It is impossible for our education system to prepare students to be successful citizens if they are not attending school,” Ms. Douglas said at the press conference.

“Our mission with the Zip Code Project is to help these young adults get back on track to a fulfilling, happy and productive life. Our job is to give them every opportunity to get a first-class education, as well as a chance to pursue their hopes and dreams.”

The event was hosted in south Phoenix at South Mountain High School which, along with Maryvale, are the two communities launched in the Phoenix area. Chinle and Ajo are the other two zip codes that have integrated the program into their communities.

Starting from the ground floor in 2015 with limited funding, Zip Code Manager Christopher Dickinson has collaborated and partnered with local clergy, community organizations, cities, neighborhoods, parole and probation officers, alternative high schools as well as education and business leaders to assist these youth.

“The Zip Code Project leverages public-private partnerships to identify and implement solutions and resources to prevent to assist with dropout prevention and support alternative paths to success,” Mr. Dickinson said in a press release.

“This is not an easy issue to combat, but I am grateful to all of the communities for their continuous support and dedication. I look forward to even further expansion of this program to more zip codes throughout the state in the near future.”

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