Help former journalist become a teacher

Hello. My name is Daniel Finney. I made my way as a newspaper reporter for most of 27 years. I survived two job cuts, but the third one in 2020 finally stuck. I returned to graduate school at Drake University to earn my master's degree in education; I seek to become an English teacher certified through grades 5 through 12. Unemployment ran out some time ago. Recently, I was denied acceptance into a federal program that would extend my unemployment benefits for up to six months. The rules for the program say you need to have left a declining field and be seeking training for a "needed field." Journalism is dying. My state's largest newspaper recently stopped printing on Saturdays. There is a new story about teacher shortages every day, but this was not enough for the state. I am challenging this ruling through the appeals system, but it could take months, and my need for basics — rent, groceries, insurance, gas, etc. — is immediate. I live with chronic arthritis in both my knees. I use a walker. I am currently student teaching and in the final two months. I can't work a second job. Your donation will not go to a lavish lifestyle. I live in a one-bedroom apartment close to my college campus. The district I teach at is about 30 minutes away, and I'm paying about $60 a week in gas. I set the goal at $15,000 because the unemployment benefits from the program I was denied would have equaled roughly that. The additional money is for anticipated fees of this service. I don't like asking strangers for help, but I need it. I won't be able to pay anyone back directly, but I promise this: I am working to be the best teacher. I believed in the altruistic ideals of journalism when I started that career, and though corporate greed corrupted that through the years, I still believe a person's life should serve others. The symbol on my university seal is a book illuminated by the flame of an oil-fueled brass lamp. As a newsman, I sought to be the fire that brought light upon knowledge of the communities where I worked. Now, I strive to be the oil — the fuel — for young minds to light their flames and find their paths in the future. I am asking all of you to be my brass lamp and be the community that holds both oil and flame and makes progress possible.


Daniel P. Finney 
Des Moines, IA

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