Alumni Give Back

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Two of our StepUp Alumni have been busy mentoring and gaining career advancement skills. Alums Nickia Baker and Brandon Lowery recently became Mentors for Sageworks, through the Inmates to Entrepreneurs Program. They work closely with program staff and leadership team to help former inmates start over through entrepreneurship opportunities.  We congratulate them on their appointment as they mentor others on the path to entrepreneurship. 

Our Alumni children continue to receive tutoring on program night while their parents attend Wake Technical Community College sponsored classes or our Toastmasters Club – StepUp Speakers’ Circle. 


Alumni program attendance (adults/children) continues to grow, with an average weekly attendance of 12 – 15 per night.

StepUp Speakers’ Circle of Toastmasters International would like to welcome 8 new member and 3 re-activating members. New members include StepUp staff and volunteers.  


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A Story of Success

From the moment Angel Toro arrived for Jobs Week, it was apparent that he was on the path to success. While many different circumstances landed him in the place of unemployment, all could see that his determination was going to carry him wherever he set his mind to go.

During his period of incarceration, Angel focused on future opportunities. He used the time to obtain his certifications in HVAC-R, EPA Universal Licensing and 410A Safety, from Central Arizona College.

Upon completing the Jobs Week, Angel obtained employment with Newcomb and Company as a Recycling Processor. He has just start Life Skills Phase I and is excited to be able to have his son, Santiago, attending the Children’s Program. His wife Donna, after hearing about the program, decided to enter Life Skills as well. It will be amazing to see the whole family graduate!!

Angel is so excited by all that has happened in his life. We are so honored to have been able to witness all of his hard work and dedication lead to the success he deserves. 


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Student Spotlight

Amonte’ comes to StepUp on Wednesday night at Christ Church. Amonte’ is four years old and he is full of energy.  He enjoys playing ball with the volunteers and he gives the best hugs!

One week our lesson was on feelings, so we discussed the different ways we feel. Amonte’ gave us a list of things that made him happy and named a few things that sometimes make him sad. He expressed that playing football makes him very happy. We are ecstatic to have Amonte’ in our Children’s Program.


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Help Raise $50,000 by April 30

“StepUp Ministry is a family that gives you the push you need to go forward in life. It provides the tools and lessons that you may not have gotten when you were younger. I get that warm happy feeling everything I think about StepUp.” - Danequa W.

As a single mother of three, Danequa came to StepUp looking for a support system that could provide encouragement, motivation, and guidance for herself and her three children – Serenity (16 months), Keymora (4), and Nehemiah (3).

Danequa is six months into the one-year Life Skills program. She is working with her co-partner to learn how to create a budget, and is involved with Triple P, which is helping her to learn strategies and different parenting styles to support her children.

Currently, she is driving a school bus for Durham Public Schools and is in the beginning stages of attaining her GED. Danequa is setting goals to become a Certified Nursing Assistant for home health.

As for her future…she would like to own her own home and be the best mom possible.

Your support will help Danequa and her children, along with other great families get a second chance. Please help us raise $50,000 by April 30.


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Calling All Young Professionals

Are you a young professional, under 40, looking to get involved in the Raleigh Community? Leadership Raleigh is choosing to invest in StepUp by creating a Young Professionals “YoPro” Committee. The Committee will assist StepUp in recruiting volunteers, planning fundraising events, identifying companies to partner with us, and serving as StepUp advocates in the community. If you or someone you know are interested, please contact Neill Frantz, Development Coordinator, by email at or by phone at (919) 781-0156 ext. 122.


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“There’s a lot to like about hiking and backpacking: Fresh air, awesome scenery, and a sense of accomplishment.  Then it hit me one day…When I go hiking, the only one who benefits from that is me…” -Craig Dunkley

In 2016, Raleigh backpacker, Craig Dunkley founded an annual hike to benefit StepUp Ministry.  He hiked the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail and raised more than $4,000 from family and friends to help StepUp.  This year, Craig is back, and he’s enlisted the help of three close friends.  Together, they hope to raise $10,000 for StepUp Ministry!  Please sponsor their hike—and StepUp Ministry.

For more information, or to donate, click here!


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Blacks in Wax

Our children got a special treat last Saturday, getting to tour the 2017 Annual Blacks in Wax Live Museum. The Museum, presented annually by the African American Cultural Center, in collaboration with AYA Ambassadors, allows moments from African American history to come to life. The kids loved seeing and hearing the stories of figures like Malcom X, Emmitt Till, Rosa Parks, and others. The proceeds from the event this year were given to support the work we are doing at StepUp Ministry.

After attending the live Museum the kids had the chance to get a glimpse of college life by wandering around NC State's beautiful campus and having lunch in Fountain Dining Hall. Overall a good day was had by all and we look forward to having more events in the near future. 

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Rachael Ray Supports StepUp--Will You?

The Rachael Ray Show gave us a big surprise last week, sending us two huge boxes full of interview clothes for our men and women in employment week! Check out the video here. Do you have any clothes to donate?

GG's Closet accepts ONLY men's business attire including suits, blazers, dress pants, shirts, dress shoes, ties and belts. We are especially in need of sizes 38-39, and sizes 50 and over. 

To donate, please bring all clothing on hangers to the StepUp Ministry Office. 


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Buzzing All Volunteers!

There are more than 400 volunteers who serve with StepUp Ministry.  We are so grateful for every person who volunteers as a mentor, teacher, coach, friend to our children, and supporter of so many things to make StepUp a place where lives are changed.  

We want to Celebrate all of the volunteers who give their time, talents, and gifts to StepUp.  

Mark your calendar now and join us April 24!


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Welcome to the team, Harry!

The Adult Life Skills Team welcomes Harry Hunter as our newest Adult Life Skills Case Manager.  Harry comes to us with a great deal of management experience and a love for serving people.  Harry and his wife have 13 children and he is a Pastor of 20 years to a local church here in Raleigh.   During his downtime he enjoys fishing and billards.  Harry will be working with our adult life skills participants at our White Memorial location. When you see Harry around, please give him a warm StepUp welcome! 


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One Step at a Time - StepUp Sunday at WMPC

By Suzanne Templeton

The sun shined on the StepUp Ministry family on Sunday, January 15 as we gathered at White Memorial Presbyterian Church. 

Thank you Elaine, Brianna, Taneisha, and Jamie for sharing your inspiring stories of courage, tenacity and faith with more than 700 people in the pews and thousands around the world.

At StepUp Sunday, a common thread, woven throughout each person’s story is the incredible desire to change something big in his or her life. 

  • To have a vision of what can be.
  • The courage to leave what is known and familiar behind. 
  • The faith to accept transition in order to change.
  • The realization that transition doesn’t happen overnight. 

Together – participants, employers, volunteers, donors, and StepUp staff, we take One Step at a Time to introduce the opportunities for a stable life.

One Step at a Time is the StepUp Sunday theme this year.  If your church would like to hear these amazing stories of positive change, please contact Suzanne Templeton, today.

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Be a StepUp Volunteer!

By Suzanne Templeton

Do you want to be a part of the StepUp story? Here's how you could help:

  • Playful, caring, like to work with kids of all ages – volunteer with the Children’s Program – Tuesday, Wednesday evenings or Summer Special Session
  • Skilled in networking, HR experience, applications and resumes – volunteer as an instructor on the Employment Team 
  • Interested in helping someone reach goals, encouraging, good listener – volunteer as a Co-Partner!
  • A group wanting to serve –we need your group to serve with special events, serve the Employment Week Graduation Meal or serve a summer meal

Contact Suzanne Templeton, today to learn where you can use your gifts and talents to serve.

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New Kids on the Block

By Phylicia Barr

As of January 4th StepUp has restarted the children’s Program at Christ Church, and with a couple of weeks under our belt we are off to a great start. We have a really great group of kids who seem to be enjoying the program so far. We are looking forward to watching them develop and learn over the course of the next year with us!

One of the activities that the elementary group has done so far is a lesson on responsibility, after a short conversation on what responsibility is and who they knew that displayed this characteristic, the children got to create a monster and explain what needed to be done to care for the monster. They all came up with different task that would help their monster survive

We asked one family their opinion on the program so far and the mother said they are having a great time and getting a lot from it already! She also mentioned that her kids beg her to bring them every week. It’s feedback like this that makes it all worth while!

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Bethsheba Steps Ahead

By Melissa Wilkerson

Life Skills Phase III participant Bethsheba Yiseral was recently awarded a StepAhead Scholarship to further her education.  Bethsheba is currently working full time in customer service but expressed interest in taking her talents and great phone voice to the next level. The scholarship award will allow Bethsheba to gain knowledge and training as a Victim Advocate. We believe in people and creating access for their dreams to be realized.  We StepUp!  Congratulations Bethsheba!

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Shout Out for Shannon

By Donna Dixon

The Employment Team would like to send a shout out to Shannon Benedetto for all her hard work, determination, and commitment towards gaining employment and stability. Shannon was a past participant of the StepUp Employment Week. However, this time around, Shannon was willing and open-minded towards the process. This time, Shannon demonstrated a positive demeanor and did everything her Employment Counselor asked of her. She showed real dedication, which not only landed her a job at Jimmy Johns, but also helped her get her feet in the door at Carroll’s Kitchen.  Shannon is now able to work and have a place to live. Carroll’s Kitchen is a nonprofit restaurant dedicated to ending homelessness for women in Raleigh. StepUp Ministry would like to thank Carroll’s Kitchen for partnering with us too! We are so proud of Shannon and wish her only best in her future endeavors. StepUp Ministry will continue to support Shannon, wherever she may go.

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

StepUp Life Skills, Alumni, and Employment Week participants, along with staff and 30 volunteers, came together for our annual Christmas party. After sharing a delicious holiday meal, we played a game of Family Feud, heard festive tunes, and took plenty of pictures in the photo booth. Santa stopped by to hear the Christmas wishes of our children, and we got to enjoy some Christmas songs by the Fountain Singers from the Fountain of Raleigh and the Junior League of Raleigh Choir. Thanks to everyone who gave of their time and talents to make this event a success!

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Oakwood Waits Benefits StepUp

            For over 30 years, the Oakwood Waits have been gracing Raleigh with their harmonious a cappella songs as they perform in authentic 1840s Victorian attire in parades, public concerts, and private holiday gatherings. This year, they chose StepUp Ministry as the beneficiaries of their Benefit Concert, and raised a total of $2,441! Thank you to the Oakwood Waits and to Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church for hosting this event. It was a perfect way to combine celebrating the holiday season and supporting a good cause!



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