Volunteers of the Year

We could not accomplish the work we do without all of our many volunteers, and we had a chance to recognize a few of them at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party in April. Our Volunteer of the Year Awards went to:

Connie HudsonEmployment Team Volunteer of the Year

Crissy Keye RollinsAdult Life Skills Volunteer of the Year

Aaron StanfordReal World Volunteer of the Year

Hayes Barton Baptist ChurchAlumni Volunteer of the Year

Sheldon FoxDevelopment Volunteer of the Year

Linda AtackChildren’s Volunteer of the Year

Carolyn Johnson and Ann HanleyVolunteers of the Year

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Volunteer Today

Is your schedule slowing down for the summer? Are you looking for a way to get involved in the Raleigh community? Please consider volunteering with StepUp! We are in need of volunteers in the following areas:

  1. Co-Partners: We are short 10 co-partners for the next phase. Will you fill that role? Serve as a one-on-one mentor weekly in our Life Skills Program for adults or young adults.
  2. Summer Meals: Prepare meals for the summer, a great opportunity for a group to serve!
  3. Children’s Program: Read to, play with, and encourage children ages 6 weeks-16.

For more information, please contact Laura Martin at (919) 781-0156 ext. 126 or lmartin@stepupministry.org.

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Success Story: Karen Evans

In May of 2016, when Karen Evans came through our Employment program she was seeking change. For most of her life, she’d worked temp positions and wanted more. After completing the workshop, Karen felt confident and encouraged by the valuable information “tools” that she was able to add to her toolkit of life. Karen began her job search empowered and with a new outlook. She quickly secured a position that ultimately became full-time with benefits.  Today Karen is gearing up for graduation and recently received the keys to her new vehicle through our Wheels for Hope partnership!  


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#HikersStepUp Raises $5,000

Four men stepped on the trail on Friday, May 19 with more than their hiking boots and backpacks. They stepped on the trail with a greater purpose, a mission to help people build lives of stability. Thanks to Craig Dunkley, Geoff Abell, Larry Kaminski, and Glyn Jones for choosing to make your 34 miles in just TWO days about more than yourselves. StepUp is grateful for the hard work and dedication of this team that raised almost $5,000!

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StepUp Spotlight: Dominique Gray

Ms. Dominique Gray began the Employment Program on April 10th, 2017. Dominique possesses unmatched ambition and is eager to reenter the workforce. She seeks out and attends Raleigh hiring events and is currently pursuing seasonal employment with Marriott Hotels. Dominique is also on track to begin employment with NC State Dining! Our team is excited about the connections being made between our awesome participants and our awesome employers!


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You're Invited!

You’re invited to StepUp’s annual fundraising luncheon on June 5, 2017! The Impact Luncheon provides an opportunity for guests to learn how our process creates lasting change in the lives of more than 600 individuals each year. The event will start at 11:45 a.m. at White Memorial Presbyterian Church. Please RSVP to Lydia Pickard at lpickard@stepupministry.org if you would like to join us.

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Calling All Volunteers

This week is National Volunteer Week, and we are so thankful for all the volunteers that make our work at StepUp possible. Are you looking for a way to get involved in StepUp? We have some opportunities coming up, and we would love for you to join us!

  1. Impact Luncheon: Our annual fundraising luncheon will be held Monday, June 5th, and we will need volunteers to help set up, plate the food, and clean up. We will need volunteers on Sunday, June 4th from 2:30-4:30 p.m. and on Monday, June 5th beginning at 10:30 a.m. 

    If you are interested, please contact Neill Frantz, nfrantz@stepupministry.org or 919-781-0156 ext. 122.

  2. Summer: Many of our regular volunteers are not able to commit to our summer program, so we will need volunteers to help nurture and care for our children, ages 6 weeks-16.

If you are interested, please contact Laura Martin, lmartin@stepupministry.org or 919-781-1056 ext. 126.


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Courage Over Fear

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

This quote speaks to the spirit of a participant, by the name of Magnus Lane. Magnus initially came through the employment program in 2013 and did not stay connected, but that wasn’t the end of his story with StepUp. He returned in 2016 and seemed to have a new attitude towards his professional success. Magnus eventually landed a job as a janitor, where he was committed to being the best at his job. Throughout his time in this position, Magnus never stopped going on interviews and attending job fairs. He met with me weekly to continue practicing on his interviewing skills, which also helped him overcome any anxiety he had of taking the next step in his career. Magnus was patiently waiting for the next door God was going to open for him when he received not one call, but two different calls from employers who were interested in him. Magnus is now working two great jobs, providing for his self and his family. Magnus took the fear he had, and conquered it. He turned interviewing into a strength, and he won’t let anything stop him from moving forward and being successful.


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Success Story: Lakeisha Wilson

Lakeisha Wilson is a native of Wake Forest NC. When Lakeisha came to StepUp she was unemployed and living in a transitional house. She was introduced to StepUp by her church at Greater New Life Fellowship Community Church in Wake Forest.

She began her journey with StepUp on February 20, 2017 where she came through the jobs program. After completing the jobs week program she was able to obtain employment within 2 weeks. She is currently employed with Rescare as a Direct Care Professional. After getting employed she continued her relationship with StepUp by becoming a participant in the Life Skills program.

Lakeisha is a mother of 3 and her main hobby is singing. She sings gospel music and is passionate about her relationship with Christ. She will be the first to tell you that “Life for me has not been no crystal stair”, but yet I am climbing. She has come from homelessness, unemployment, divorcement, abandonment to obtaining a career and getting her life back on track.


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Partnered with POE

StepUp Ministry partners with several different organizations and we have the honor to have them work with our children. This month we started our unit on personal health and nutrition. POE Center has been coming for several weeks teaching our children about nutrition and how to live and maintain a healthy life. Our children are not only learning how to eat healthy, but they are also learning how to exercise and stay active. Our children are very active and they love when POE Center prepares different games and exercises for them! 

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The Time Is Now!

Donate today to help the four men of #HikersStepUp reach their goal of raising $10,000 for StepUp Ministry. Craig Dunkley, Geoff Abell, Glyn Jones, and Larry Kaminski are passionate about hiking, but they are also passionate about giving people a second chance. As they hike 34 miles in just over two days, they will not be hiking for themselves. They will be hiking for the men and women StepUp serves, who are working hard to find jobs and stability. Donate now: www.stepupministry.org/hikersstepup. The hike is May 5-7, so make sure to follow their journey on social media using #HikersStepUp!

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Alumni Give Back

Brandon and Nickia.jpg

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 nfrantz@stepupministry.org 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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