Scattered to Serve

StepUp wants to say “Thank You” to Hayes Barton United Methodist Church for including us in their Scatter to Serve project on Saturday, May 4th. They sent a team of volunteers to come do Spring Cleaning in our office building. They worked hard and made it sparkle and feel good for employees and participants when they walked in on Monday.  

Are you interested in volunteering? Contact Cynthia Walker to learn more.

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...”

StepUp Ministry Volunteers of the Year

StepUp could not get all the work that needs to be done without our many dedicated volunteers.  We recognized a few outstanding leaders of at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Fiesta at Cantina 18 on April 29.  

Our Volunteer of the Year Awards went to:

Overall Volunteer of the Year: Campbell Law School – Blanchard Legal Clinic and Restorative Justice Clinic

Employment Team: Charlie Warner

Adult Life Skills: Cynthia Whitney-Hopkins

Alumni: JoAnn Rey

Children’s Program: Liza Shelton

Development: Betsy Davis and Kathleen Hofstadter

Cynthia Whitney-Hopkins receives her award from Maxine Terry and Linda Nunnallee at the Volunteer Appreciation Party at Cantina 18 on April 29, 2019.

Cynthia Whitney-Hopkins receives her award from Maxine Terry and Linda Nunnallee at the Volunteer Appreciation Party at Cantina 18 on April 29, 2019.

We are grateful to all the many volunteers who support our work each year. Want to become one of those incredible volunteers? Contact Cynthia Walker today!

Check out the full gallery of photos from the event here!

Are you looking for a way to give back?

Have you ever needed someone to help you up? Have you ever needed an encouraging word? Serving as a co-partner provides a chance to invest deeply in someone's life, but many co-partners will tell you they are the ones receiving the reward.

StepUp Ministry is looking for Co-Partners for our Life Skills Program, where participants learn skills like budgeting and goal setting. Our goal is stability in all aspects of life over the long term. 

Not sure if you’re ready to commit? Come see Life Skills in action on a Tuesday night. 

Please contact Cynthia if you are interested: or (919) 781-0156 ext. 111

Big News from Wells Fargo Foundation

We are grateful for Wells Fargo’s longtime partnership! The Wells Fargo Foundation recently announced a $25,000 commitment to help StepUp continue delivering Employment and Life Skills Training for adults in Wake County.

 “Wells Fargo is proud to support StepUp’s commitment to the community. Through StepUp, individuals gain employment and stability, and the guidance to reach long term goals such as a college degree or homeownership,” says Suzie Koonce, community relations senior consultant at Wells Fargo.

StepUp Spotlight: Mitch Coles
Mitch Coles.jpg

The Employment team is excited to recognize Mitch Coles, who completed our weeklong employment workshop back in February. Mitch came to the program with exceptional skills and experience in the IT industry, but was having a hard time connecting with the right opportunities.

After completion of the employment week, Mitch stayed connected with the Jobs team. He attended other StepUp workshops to hone his skills and utilized the StepUp program to extend his network. Most importantly, he continued to build confidence in the skills he possessed. He never stopped engaging and pushing forward with his career goals. This persistent drive landed Mitch a life-changing opportunity with Cisco Systems as a desktop publisher. 

These are encouraging words directly from Mitch:

“I do thank the StepUp Ministry for helping me with my confidence, sharpening my skills and even understanding and learning about individuals with criminal backgrounds. I don’t have one but I KNEW that information was greater than myself. I was able to share some of those things that I’ve learned in that class with others who do have one. Overall, my resume was revamped because of you guys, my confidence and my ability to have more range to look for different things. So again, thank you. Thank you all at StepUp Ministry.”

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!

Alumni Ambassadors
Katrina Lyons, Alumna and Board Member, speaks at StepUp Sunday.

Katrina Lyons, Alumna and Board Member, speaks at StepUp Sunday.

Our Alumni are now called Ambassadors as they are assigned as mentors to other graduates entering into the program. Recent graduates are engaged in Wake Tech Community College Career focused classes and our Toastmasters International Club (StepUp Speakers’ Circle).  In March, our club celebrated its 4th Year as a Toastmasters International club and are on schedule to receive a Distinguished Club Award for 2019. 

Members continue to expand their Public Speaking, Leadership and Communication skills through active engagement in the club. Alumni continue to serve as Club Officers such as Vice President of Education, Vice President of Public Relations, Secretary, Sergeant at Arms, Vice President of Membership. 

Timothy Johnson, Alumnus, with Governor Roy Cooper after speaking at StepUp Sunday.

Timothy Johnson, Alumnus, with Governor Roy Cooper after speaking at StepUp Sunday.

As a member of Toastmasters International, alumni/members are invited to speak at various events. To further demonstrate their toastmasters’ skills, two of our alumni had the honor of speaking before the Governor of North Carolina, the Honorable Roy Cooper. Timothy Johnson, a December 2018 Life Skills graduate and Katrina Lyons, Alumni/StepUp Ministry Board Member. Both shared their story and journey during StepUp Sunday held at White Memorial Presbyterian Church on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Governor Cooper expressed his deep commitment and respect for the work that takes place at StepUp Ministry indicating he looked forward to StepUp Sunday each year. 

Love marketing? Love trivia? Love StepUp?

We’ve partnered with the American Marketing Association to host the Big Marketing Pub Quiz, a charity marketing trivia meet to benefit StepUp. Enjoy food, drink, and five action-packed rounds of brainteasers in marketing pop culture, history, strategy, and more!

Net proceeds will go to benefit StepUp’s mission to enable adults and children to transform their lives through employment and life skills training.

Tickets are just $10. Seating is limited—register today at

StepUp Ministry
StepUp Spotlight: Brittany Lewis

Coming through the doors on Monday, StepUp Employment Workshop participant Brittany Lewis felt hopeful. By Friday, after 32 hours spent learning about networking, resume writing, dressing for success and preparing for the interview, Brittany feels accomplished. With two interviews already lined up with a pharmaceutical company and doctor’s office, Brittany is ready to spring forward into a new opportunity.

To return to the newsletter, click here.

A House Becomes a Home

This month one of our young adults had the opportunity to go shopping at The Green Chair Project to purchase furniture for her family. Keshondra Montague is an amazing young Women who started our Real World Program last June. When she came to Step Up she had already completed High School at the age of 16 and she had a list of goals for what was next in her life. She is now enrolled at Wake Tech and continues to work full time. One of her goals was to save money and get furniture for her family, and just like many of her other goals she was able to achieve that goal!  


To return to the newsletter, click here.

Celebrate with Jamekah

Meet Jamekah. Jamekah enjoys fashion designing, writing songs, and singing. Jamekah has been employed at Nationwide Insurance since March 2017 as a Member’s Care Representative. James Ivy, her father and a Life Skills graduate, referred her to the program. After a year in Step Two, Jamekah and her two children, Cashual and Cali, will graduate tonight. 

Come celebrate all the graduates’ hard work and resilience with us TONIGHT, March 28 at 6 pm at Christ Church.


To return to the newsletter, click here.

Welcome, Nancy!

Dear friends, 


I am pleased to introduce StepUp’s new Director of Development, Nancy Bromhal.

Nancy brings a range of development experiences and a volunteer spirit to her new role at StepUp. “I’m drawn to StepUp’s mission of providing members of our community the opportunities to improve their lives through employment and age-specific skills building,” Nancy says.

Nancy and her family are members of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, and she and her teenaged daughters are part of the NCL – Dogwood Chapter, two of StepUp’s partners.

Most recently, Nancy was director of the annual fund and communications at Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, another StepUp partner. “One of the highlights was getting to know the homeowners, and share their stories,” Nancy reflects. “I am eager to meet the StepUp participants and celebrate their successes as well.”  

We know she is going to be a great addition to the team. Please join me in welcoming Nancy to our StepUp family. 


Linda Nunnallee

To return to the newsletter, click here.

Are You Ready to Make an Impact?

Are you interested in volunteering in a meaningful way, to make an impact on someone’s journey towards stability? If so, StepUp has just the opportunity for you! 

StepUp Ministry is looking for Co-Partners for our Life Skills Program, where participants learn skills like budgeting and goal setting. Our goal is stability in all aspects of life over the long term. 

Not sure if you’re ready to commit? Come see Life Skills in action on a Tuesday night. 

Please contact Cynthia if you are interested: or (919) 781-0156 ext. 111


To return to the newsletter, click here.

ENER-G: Employer Excitement

StepUp Ministry’s Employment Program works with individuals to enhance their previously gained skills and introduce new concepts which improve their overall employability. Bi-weekly, we host a gathering geared toward networking, that we call ENER-G.

Employers also come to introduce potential employees to their company and discuss openings they are seeking to fill. Representatives give a brief overview of their organization, answer additional questions, and qualify potential candidates, as well. We are looking to add more businesses to our “partnership portfolio” that want to hire eager and capable employees. 

Are you looking for qualified candidates to fill a position you have? Know an employer who may be interested? To learn more about joining us for ENER-G, please contact the Employment Team Lead, Dennis A. Jarmon, at


To return to the newsletter, click here.

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.

StepUp Spotlight: LeaAndra Faulkner

LeaAndra Faulkner, a 2018 Life Skills Graduate, is very creative and is compassionate about assisting those who are in need. She and her daughters crochet sleeping mats out of plastic grocery bags for the homeless population and distribute them to individuals.

LeaAndra Faulkner, a native of Baltimore, MD, currently works as a Certified Nurse Assistant. When she came to StepUp, she was seeking an opportunity to improve her life by making necessary changes that would positively impact her and her family. She is a mother of two beautiful girls, Joelle and Johanna.

LeaAndra began her Life Skills journey on January 3, 2018 and graduated on December 13, 2018. She has not gone anywhere, and we love seeing her each week in our Alumni Program.

To return to the newsletter, click here.

GG's Closet Has a New Home

The cliché “It Takes a Village” was recently more than a trendy phrase for StepUp Ministry. It was truly lived out when our Men’s Clothing Closet, GG's Closet, needed a new home. Many thanks to the volunteer work of First National Bank, Relias, Inc., members of Westminster Presbyterian, and GG’s Closet Founders, Carolyn Johnson, and Ann Hanley.  The move involved clearing out old furniture, cleaning, painting, packing, and moving many racks of clothing, shoes, furniture, etc.  Also, StepUp would like to thank Westminster Presbyterian for providing the space, Sherman Williams on Peace Street for donating supplies, and Linda Craft Realty for usage of their moving truck. Again, many thanks to everyone coming together to help!

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.

StepUp Spotlight: Nakol Curtis

Nakol was introduced to StepUp in 2011.  She initially joined because she wanted something different; but, she hadn’t quite mapped out the path to reach “success”.  She completed the week-long employment workshop, secured employment and joined the Life Skills program.  Unfortunately, halfway through her Life Skills journey, Nakol had to step away from the program to regroup.  Fast forward to seven years later - Nakol never lost sight of her goal of successfully completing Life Skills.  In 2018, Nakol rejoined Life Skills to finish what she started.  She is currently in Phase III of Life Skills, a Wake County employee, and an amazing mother.  Nakol, we celebrate you and your resilience.

To return to the newsletter, click here.