Serving with StepUp: Providing Friendship to Support Change
StepUp serves approximately 160 adults in its Life Skills program every year. Each participant is paired with a mentor called a co-partner. For 36 weeks, the co-partner and participant spend Tuesday evenings together, sharing dinner, friendship, learning financial skills, and setting goals. Andrew was interested immediately.
“I saw volunteers from all walks of life helping individuals create a new future and walking along with them,” he remembers. “As a financial planner by trade, helping plan ahead and serve, I knew StepUp was the right place for me (to volunteer).”
Ten years ago, Andrew met the first participant he would mentor. As a young professional, Andrew says he initially had concerns about his effectiveness to lead and be a valued mentor. “But the resources to guide her came from StepUp through the staff and the fellow co-partners,” he recalls. ”Being true, being a friend, and being committed to serving every Tuesday helped build the trust and partnership we both needed to succeed.”
Andrew’s ninth participant, Hope, graduated from Life Skills in June. He stays in touch with all nine of the Life Skills participants he has supported and continues to celebrate their successes.
He fondly remembers Dale, who came to StepUp many years ago. StepUp provided many of the resources Dale utilized to rebuild his life. Dale was able to find work and repair the relationships with his family. Today, Dale owns a successful commercial cleaning company and employs a handful of citizens in our community.
“Dale illustrates the resiliency of humans, the proof of commitment, and the gift of Grace,” Andrew explains. “Dale helped provide guidance for me as well.”
We are currently seeking volunteers to serve as co-partners for the Life Skills class beginning in September. The role requires a couple of hours on Tuesday evenings, a willingness to learn, and an open heart.