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About Us


The mission of Step Up is to help at-risk middle school students succeed in school and develop an awareness of their future potential by providing academic support in a mentoring context.


What Step Up Provides

  • Academic Support:  Students receive help with their homework and improve academic skills by working with a mentor individually or in small groups (maximum 1:2 ratio)
  • Mentoring Relationships: Students interact each week with a caring, consistent mentors who serve as role models, advocates, and tutors
  • Enrichment programming: Students participate in additional educational, cultural, and social activities on site and in the local community with their mentors
  • Summer Program: Students are invited to learn in an interactive summer program and grow their academic and self awareness as well as consider future educational possibilities
  • Parent Support and Involvement: Parents attend special sessions alongside their students to learn about issues facing their children and ways to best support them


Step Up began as joint project of CASA and Upward Bound. The two Hope College organizations promote academic achievement in 1st through 5th graders (CASA) and 9th through 12th graders (Upward Bound). In 2010 the staff of both organizations recognized a gap in services for middle school students. These students lacked the support they needed to succeed in school and the encouragement to consider future educational and career opportunities.
Step Up filled this gap, beginning in fall 2010 with five students who enrolled and eagerly participated. The program continued to grow and in fall 2013 the program received a grant through Americorps Faith in Youth Partnership for a full time site coordinator to oversee the program and provide mentoring. With clear success, the program has continued to grow and now serves over 40 middle school students!


Step Up Newsletter Summer