The Last Dropout offers nine key principles that Communities In Schools has tested over three decades. Interwoven are the dramatic life stories of CIS founder Bill Milliken and his colleagues, a journey that began in the turbulent 1960s as youth workers with a spiritual mission struggled to turn around the lives of dropouts and addicts.
From the Rearview Mirror is the story of Bill Milliken's journey from an affluent Pittsburgh suburb to the streets of Harlem and the Lower East Side of New York City in the 1960s, on to communal living in Georgia in the 1970s, to working with multiple presidential administrations in Washington, DC. He struggled with an undiagnosed learning disability in school, believing he was dumb and had nowhere to go. After connecting with the Young Life outreach program at the age of 17, however, he found his calling doing street work with homeless, addicted and other at-risk teens in the turbulent '60s. Bill and his colleagues founded what grew into Communities in Schools, a highly effective organisation working to bring services to young people and prevent them from dropping out of school. Along the way, Bill struggled with bringing his personal life into alignment with his ideals, coming to terms with organised religion and his own spiritual path, and creating the family and community he'd always longed for.