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Current Events:

As ManUp Iowa continues to grow, we have added two new leadership positions within the agency to help aid us in our mission of providing high quality preventative services to young men in our community. Therefore we are excited to announce that Charles Zanders has officially accepted the position of Volunteer Coordinator and Dwight Jackson has accepted the position of Director of Grant Services. Below you will find short biographies for both Charles and Dwight.

Charles ZandersMeet Charles Zanders:

Charles W Zanders brings a wealth of experience and multiple unique skill sets as he takes on the first ever Volunteer Coordinator role with the ManUp Iowa program. We are confident that with Charles’s great networking abilities and significant level of experience, he will be able to secure a vast array of successful and passionate male volunteers to mentor youth in the ManUp program.

Charles received his B.S. from Upper Iowa University in 1995. Charles had a full 29 year career with the communications company that is currently known as Century Link. In addition to having been corporate management, Charles also coached wrestling at Drake University(1978 to 1993). Believing one should live life to the fullest, other post corporate careers include: part time realtor (2004-2008) Coldwell Banker, Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Iowa (2008-2012) and current position at Next Step Counseling part time (2011-present). He currently resides in Urbandale Iowa with his wife Margaret. They have three adult sons and five grandchildren.

Meet Dwight Jackson:

Dwight JacksonAs the new acting Director of Grant Services for ManUp Iowa, Dwight Jackson brings a wealth of experience and insight from the private and public sectors. His education includes: Received his M.P.A from Drake University, B.S from Upper Iowa University, A.A from Des Moines Area Community College and is a member of Drake University’s Pi Alpha Alpha.

Dwight has a wealth of experience in management and executive roles in the private sector as well as a plethora of experience in other notable roles including:

  • BP Amoco, General Electric, Asurion Wireless. Retired from Asurion as the Director of Customer Satisfaction at the Office of the CEO.
  • Received the DMACC Urban Campus Alumni Association Outstanding Alumnus Award.
  • Served as a board member and advisory member of Proteus Employment Opportunities Inc.
  • Provides part time BHIS services (current).
  • Is a part time substitute teacher for the DMPS (current).
  • Mentored minority youth in Chicago and Des Moines.

In his leisure time Dwight enjoys music and is a self-taught musician. Dwight and his wife, Gloria have 3 children and 10 grandchildren.

Field trips:


  • 8-14-14: Fishing trip sponsored by Scheels:

The entire ManUp team and all program participants and their families were invited to go fishing at the West Des Moines Library pond sponsored by Scheels sporting goods. Scheels donated fishing poles and bait and tackle to all program participants. The Des Moines Register was also present to do a story on the event that will be featured in the Adventure Iowa series in the Iowa Life section of the Des Moines Register. This event was a huge success shown by having 36 ManUp participants and multiple family members participate in the event.  Furthermore almost every participant caught a fish! Thank you to Scheels sporting goods and everyone else that helped support this event!!!

*Note: You can click the link to the right under the; “Blog roll” section to see the full story of this exciting event.

Fishing event pic for website 8-14-14_Page_1

  • 7-23-14: Iowa Cubs game:

    Several ManUp team members and 11 program participants enjoyed watching the Iowa Cubs during a day game.

Volunteer events:


  • 8-17-14: “Back to school bash”:

 Several of the ManUp Iowa team members participated in this exciting back to school event. The team had a table along with about 20 other vendors providing information on our mission and how to enroll future participants in to the program. Most importantly we had three current ManUp participants volunteer in the event. The participants did very well at helping where needed.

Game truck picture 8-17-14

*The two ManUp Iowa participants featured above did very well volunteering today by helping with the line outside the game truck. However, during break time they definitely enjoyed time inside the game truck.

  • 8-11-14: Sorting school supplies and backpacks for DMPS students:

The Director of ManUp Iowa will be taking three program participants to help volunteer with the DMPS to sort school supplies and backpacks for DMPS students.

  • 8-5-14: “National Night Out”, at MLK JR. Park:

ManUp Iowa team members and program participants volunteered and had a booth at the national night out event at MLK Jr. park.

MLK JR PARK PICTURE*Pictured above is the ManUp Iowa Director Zach Smith, ManUp volunteer Colin Farley and three ManUp Iowa participants that all helped volunteer at the; “National Night Out” at MLK JR park.

Guest speaker for the month of August:

Beth Mensing from Planned Parenthood is currently presenting during multiple mentoring sessions on the topic of sexual responsibility. She is covering multiple chapters from the programs evidenced based curriculum that is utilized called; “Wise Guys.”

ManUp Iowa on the Radio:

On June 25th, 2014 ManUp Iowa’s Director, Zach Smith was featured on “The News Hour Insight on Business” which aired on 1350 KRNT.  To listen to the interview you can click on the link in the top right corner.

ManUp Iowa Graduation Ceremony:

Graduation winter-spring 2014

At the conclusion of each 15 week program, a special event will be held in order to symbolize the rite of passage or successful graduation of the program. Past graduation events have included an adventure race in downtown Des Moines and several graduation ceremonies. Stay tuned to learn about new events and graduation ceremonies that will occur during future ManUp Iowa sessions.

ManUp Iowa Graduation – May 29, 2014
            • Young Men Graduated: 20
            • Participants continuing in program: 18
            • Unsuccessful completion: 2
            • Success rate: 90%
            • Total participants in all locations