Posts in Children's Program
StepUp Children Cure End of Summer Blues with New Foods

The Children’s Program recently finished their summer field trip outings and is now focusing on the upcoming school year. We are always trying to expose our children to new and exciting things to create a fun learning environment. This month we had the pleasure of hosting a talented young lady who works in the culinary arts named Carmen. Carmen wanted to introduce the children to bold flavors and new ingredients. Her goal was to teach the children how to prepare quick, healthy meals with food readily available in the kitchen. It's not uncommon to find ourselves coming home from a long day of work or school with little time to prepare a meal. To learn how to overcome this, each child had the opportunity to construct a tasty meal using the ingredients available to them in the classroom. Carmen taught the children to concoct a quick, delicious meal that satisfies both our hunger and time constraints. This was our first time introducing the children to cooking. Everyone enjoyed their experiences, though, and we are planning to cook with the children more often!

Raleigh Renaissance Program Introduces StepUp Children to Arts & Culture

StepUp children experience many new activities through the Raleigh Renaissance program! This summer, the children have visited Hope Reins (a therapeutic riding facility for children) and Historic Stagville in Durham. They also helped with a service project with the Diaper Bank of NC, one of our community partners. They also were treated to a performance of Annie at the NC Theatre. Future activities include trips to the Museum of Life and Science, the NC Museum of Art, and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. There is also a campus tour of UNC planned, followed by a visit to the school’s historical museum.

Making their mark on StepUp
Ashton Herbert of StepUp Ministry with Janie Young and Charlie Johnson, who founded the Alumni Children Tutoring Program.

Ashton Herbert of StepUp Ministry with Janie Young and Charlie Johnson, who founded the Alumni Children Tutoring Program.

Broughton High School senior Charlie Johnson graduates this week, but not after first leaving a lasting impression on StepUp Ministry. Last fall, he came to Children’s Coordinator Ashton Herbert with an idea for a tutoring program. From there, a great partnership was born, and the Alumni Children’s Tutoring Program began. Since January, Charlie and Janie Young (along with a few other Broughton students) have spent most Thursday evenings teaching math and science to the children of StepUp alumni. Children’s Coordinator Ashton Herbert recognized Charlie and Janie for their leadership and dedication at last Thursday’s Alumni program.

For Charlie, helping people through StepUp was a natural process. “As a member of White Memorial my whole life, I had a general understanding of StepUp and how much they help, and I really wanted to take part,” Charlie reflected. ”With the help of Ashton and everyone at StepUp, it was easy to piece together what turned out to be a really awesome program.”

 “I was inspired to help because of my previous work with StepUp through the National Charity League, and the joy I get from seeing the children every week,” Janie explained.

Charlie said developing relationships with each child was most valuable to him, and both he and Janie were excited to provide a valuable service to younger students. Janie also shared one of her favorite memories of a young girl who was so inspired by math that she asked Janie to teach lessons she had not yet learned in school.

Charlie will attend Appalachian State University in the fall, and Janie is headed to the University of Georgia. However, their commitment to the Alumni Tutoring Program is strong and they have recruited other Broughton students to keep working with the StepUp children.


“I am really impressed by their dedication to helping our Alumni children,” commented Ashton Herbert. “Charlie and Janie will be missed, but I am happy that future Broughton students will be continuing their efforts.”

For information about serving as a tutor on Thursday nights, please email Ashton Herbert or call 919-781-0156, ext. 120.

Meet Collin

The Children’s Team welcomed a new member to the family recently. We can already tell we are lucky to have Collin Morrison serving our young StepUp participants. When asked what motivates him, Collin responded, “I’m motivated in my role by the unlimited potential I see in teens who remind me of myself. Most times, a listening ear or mindful redirection can be the most important thing to a young person. We didn’t get all of the answers overnight, but as an adult, we are obligated to give them what we needed when we were their age. After all, our parents prepared us for a world that no longer exists, so we have to prepare them for the world that is NOW and the world that will be here tomorrow...”

Easter: StepUp Style

The past few weeks, the StepUp Children’s program has been buzzing with excitement surrounding the Easter holiday. StepUp’s Young Professionals (YoPro) Committee and the Junior League hosted Easter Egg Hunts for our children (age birth-16) on Tuesday night, complete with egg dying, games, crafts, and of course, candy. Then, Alumni and StepUp Connect children celebrated Easter Thursday with an Easter Egg Hunt followed by egg dyeing and decorating.


We were able to send each child home with beautiful Easter baskets donated by St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. They donated 60 baskets, enough to give one to not only to all of our Tuesday night children and young adults, but also our Alumni children. It truly was amazing to see such beautiful baskets given to all of our StepUp kids. Thank you, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church!

Black History Month: History in the Making

February was Black History Month, but in StepUp’s Children’s Program, we celebrate it every month because we see history in the making every day. We attempt to expose every child to something new in our program. In celebration of black history, most of our children have done projects at school, and some even participated in after school shows. My challenge for each of my students was to find a particular person in history they have never heard of and research their contributions, inventions, or discoveries.

One of our children took it to another level and participated in a Black History show at her school. Lleya Curtis is active in many things like dance, cheerleading, and art. I had the chance to watch this fabulous young lady bring history to her school. I believe it is important to teach our young people that no matter what you do, always do your best. Lleya did a great job representing Black History Month through dance! 


To return to the newsletter, click here.

Busy Little Ones

January has been a month of great change in the nursery on Tuesday nights! We had quite a few little friends graduate in December, and we are excited to see them begin a new chapter in their lives. With the start of the new phase, we also welcomed a lot of new faces to the nursery as well. We had not only new children join the program, but also a few new volunteers as well. It has made the first few weeks very busy and exciting all at once. The first night of the new phase, we had over 15 children between ages birth-5, which was wonderful. We were able to split into three different age groups during the night, and have volunteers and staff take advantage of having multiple rooms to use at White Memorial, which has made all the difference. Please reach out to us  if you would like to join this growing bunch and volunteer with the nursery!

To return to the newsletter, click here.

Santa's Workshop

On December 5, we had one of our favorite events of the year called “Santa’s Workshop”. During this event we transform the Gym at White Memorial into the ultimate shopping experience for our youth. The nursery, the children’s program, and the Real World program have the opportunity to come and shop for their parents and loved ones. This year we had a large selection of new and gently used items for them to choose from thanks to donations from the community. After shopping, they head over to the gift-wrapping stations to put a special touch on their gifts. The Junior League of Raleigh also had holiday craft stations set up for the kids to partake in after shopping. This event brings so much joy to the children of StepUp because it gives them the opportunity to give something special to the ones who care for them all year long. 


To return to the newsletter, click here.

Movers and Shakers, Quite Literally
dance pics.jpg

As we started November, we had a chance to partner with a young lady who is very passionate about dance. Dancing requires a lot of movement and stretching, and StepUp Children seem to really enjoy learning the different kinds of movements she shares with us. Our goal for StepUp’s Children’s Program is to expose them to as many new activities as possible, so stay tuned for some more interesting and fun new things happening with our young movers and shakers! 

To return to the newsletter, click here.

Growth and Volunteering in the Nursery

StepUp Ministry’s youngest participants have had a lot of excitement in the past few months!  Without our volunteers, we would not be able to create a special environment for them to learn and grow. The children love seeing familiar faces each week, and two of those familiar faces are Jacob Swanger and Diann Kearney. Read their stories below…

Jacob Swanger: 

“I can honestly say volunteering in the nursery at StepUp is one of the most rewarding things I do with my time. I was aimlessly looking at different volunteer opportunities for a while before I found my perfect match at StepUp. The staff, participants, and their kids are all amazing. Being a part of peoples’ lives while they go through such profound change and growth is incredible. 

You should join the nursery volunteers if (1) you have a passion for positively impacting people’s lives, or (2) you like fostering a fun, nurturing, educational, and lighthearted environment for little ones. An added bonus is you will never leave that place without a smile. I could be having the hardest day at work but it goes away with the kids’ laughter and fun. 

I have been volunteering for about a year now, and my favorite memory is playing hide and go seek in the nursery. All the kids hid in the same place including one little girl that didn’t usually play with the others. When I turned the corner and surprised them they all went crazy with laughter… made my week!”


Diann Kearney: 

“After retiring from a 30-year career in public education, I was looking for ways to continue to support our community, and StepUp Ministry has allowed me to do so as a volunteer in the nursery. I have been inspired by the StepUp participants and their level of enthusiasm for the program. It has been a joy to spend Tuesday evenings with their children while they seek to gain life skills and ultimately, stable careers. Through focused programming and the use of highly skilled staff and eager volunteers, StepUp Ministry is making a real difference in the lives of these participants and our community.”

To return to the newsletter, click here.

Stage Talent? We've got it.

...well, our StepUp kids do at least.

After an exciting summer of fun for our StepUp children, they are getting back into the swing of the school year with acting classes taught by NC Theatre Conservatory. The Children’s and Real World programs invited NC Theatre Conservatory to come and work with our children on acting skills.

We have so many talented young people in our program, so it was not hard for any of our children to come out of their box! We are so excited to have NC Theatre Conservatory come and teach our children and we cannot wait to see what else they have in store for us this month!  


To return to the newsletter, click here

Giving Back to Those Who Give to Us
Hope Reins.jpg

This past Thursday, we had another great field trip with our children’s team! We had almost twenty kids currently in the program and from Alumni join us for an all-day outing to Durham. We started our day by visiting the Diaper Bank of North Carolina. There, we got to see how the diapers that are donated to our families are packaged, sorted, and delivered. We even got to join in and help out with packaging boxes and boxes of diapers. It was all hands on deck, and everyone joined in with a little competition to see who could get through their stack the fastest! We can’t thank the Diaper Bank enough for showing us how the warehouse works, and for letting our kids jump in and help. We appreciate all that you do for us, and are so thankful for the support you give our families through diapers and wipes.

Diaper Bank.jpg

We refueled our energy with lunch, and headed for our afternoon at Hope Reins. Hope Reins is a wonderful equine facility that serves children and families in Wake County and surrounding areas that need support and comfort during difficult times. They have partnered with StepUp for over 5 years now to host us for an afternoon of fun each summer. The kids got to learn about the horses, go fishing, play games, and enjoy snow cones. Thank you, Hope Reins, for having us. We had a lot of happy but tired kids at the end of the day!


To return to newsletter, click here.

Join us for Life Skills Graduation!

Join in the celebration on Thursday, June 14, as a new class of Life Skills become StepUp Alumni. They have worked long and hard to get where they are, and we think they deserve to be celebrated.

The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. on June 14 at White Memorial Presbyterian Church. We hope to see you there!


To return to newsletter, click here.

Kids Learn Culture

This month the kids at StepUp had the opportunity to participate in cultural day, which is an event that we have once a year giving our children a chance to learn about a culture that they may not be familiar with. Our guest speaker this year was Farah Campbell; she came and shared her Haitian heritage with the kids. Both of Farah’s parents were born and raised in Haiti and later moved to the United States to raise their family.

The Kids had the chance to see the Haitian flag and see where Haiti is located on the map. They learned about traditions and some of the many festivals that are held in Haiti. Farah taught them a few useful phrases in Haitian Creole such as “Sa ki pase” which means, “ What’s up?” and “Bonswa” which means “good evening”. The kids also got to move around a bit and learned a traditional Haitian dance while listening to some music. They had the opportunity to try fried plantains which are very popular Haitian dish. It was a night filled with learning and exposure, and the kids had a great time!


To return to the newsletter, click here.

Protect and Serve StepUp's Kids

This month in the Children’s program we had one of our Police Officers come and talk about what she really does on her job. We thought that having her come and talk to our children would be a great way for them to ask questions and share some of their stories with her. Some of our children even shared that they want to one day become an officer. Officer Delva did a great job with showing our children the different roles that many officers have. She even talked about the Officer who pulls us over for speeding!

To return to the newsletter, click here.

Volunteer? Care giver? Rock star.

Bonnie Whitehead, has been a volunteer with the Sunday school at her own church, and jumped at the opportunity to help another group in the nursery setting. She was first introduced to StepUp back in June of 2011, and is now going into her third year of volunteering with us. 

Bonnie Whitehead

Bonnie loves to get the chance to work with a child one on one, since that really gives you a glimpse into their own world. She loves to learn their interests, likes, and dislikes, so she can better adapt to their needs. 

When asked what her favorite memory was so far as a volunteer, Bonnie told me, "My time at Step Up has provided far too many touching memories to select a favorite but the common theme among them: the children's pride. Words cannot really convey the look on a shy, unassuming eleven-year-old child's face when he explained how he was going to be an "entomologist" when he grew up. Or the expression on the very timid four-year-old as she showed me she had learned her colors just this past Wednesday! Also I can never forget incredible little Rakwan, a special needs child whom I met on my very first day. His smile lit up the room and it's just one of the many moments I will always cherish. So you can see that on a regular basis I leave Christ Church with my heart filled with joy and hope for these amazing, deserving children. It is certainly a rich reward in and of itself and I'm so grateful to Step Up for providing this opportunity to serve.”

We thank Bonnie, and all of our wonderful volunteers for helping to enrich the lives of our participants, both young and old. We could not do it without you! 


To return to the newsletter, click here.

Tuesday Night Talent

On Tuesday night in the children’s program we spend a portion of the night doing homework or something academic. This generally looks like kids sitting around the tables with the help of our wonderful volunteers working hard on homework, reading books, or challenging themselves with flash cards or trivia.

One of our phase one participants challenged the norm this week by letting us know that the only homework he had for the night was to practice his clarinet. Shawn is new to StepUp and had already started to make a good impression with our staff and volunteers. He is a 6th grader who has a love for music as well as talent. One of our volunteers went and sat outside in the Courtyard so that Shawn had the opportunity to work on his homework during this time as well.


To return to newsletter, click here.

Learning in Little Steps

Our children in Little Steps are constantly learning and growing. This month, they worked on name recognition using ice cream. The children really enjoyed adding the scoops to the ice cream cone and then counting how many scoops they had according to the letters in their name. The kids had so much fun, while also gaining important skills they will need.



To return to the newsletter, click here.

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! 


To return to the newsletter, click here.

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.

To return to the newsletter, click here.