Our Story Begins...
mid-1980s times were tumultuous for children and families. Innocent babies, born addicted to crack and abandoned to foster
care, have now come of age. The lack of parental involvement due to unemployment, drug abuse or prison leaves youth
afraid and fending for themselves. With the current economic uncertainties, youth crime and victimization is increasing.
Ex-offenders--returning after long prison sentences--find fewer services exist to support their reentry mandates: employment,
housing and self-sufficiency. Most find temporary refuge inside halfway houses, transitional shelters and group homes. Others
return to frail Grandparents or other reluctant relatives--all of whom--are lacking the resources and expertise needed
to aid assimilation efforts. Youthful offenders will quickly fall back into a culture intent on creating its own
identity through illicit behaviors -- alcohol, drugs and gang involvement. In public schools gifted teens ‘dumb-down’
under increasing peer pressure, while others—lagging behind—will drop out and don’t succeed. They become
the gang members and truants living on the fringes of society—often committing a variety of criminal acts.
The S.T.E.P.U.P. Foundation's mission is "To improve the quality of life and
the standard of living for children, youth and families." Our programs and services seek to establish or change
written and unwritten standards, codes, norms and attitudes which are prevalent in low-income communities. We accept
individuals, youth, families, older adults and ex-offenders. Our programs and services rebuilds the capacity of and
improve outcomes for those living in communities in crisis. Since 1994, The S.T.E.P.U.P. Foundation has sought to empower
urban youth and families to set, work toward, and achieve their personal and professional goals. Mobile teams mentor
and monitor youth in need of supervision. We provide participants with access to information, technology and promote
civic responsibility. Ms. Dickens was honored to have been nominated for and to accept the 2001-2002 [Abe] Pollin Award
for Outstanding Dedication to the Community from Washington Wizard Jahidi White! Afterwards, internationally known
comedian Sinbad, gave one of his best performances entertaining the audience into the New Year!
More About Us
The S.T.E.P.U.P. Foundation has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognition
for our work with youth and was nominated for the Pollin Award for Outstanding Service to the Community! Ms. Dickens has been
recognized for her grassroots efforts and invited to participate in community outreach programs as a Panelist in a DC city-wide
Female Gang Intervention conference at Howard University (by Metropolitan Police Department) and invited to implement educational
workshops for male youth during their Annual Summer Basketball Leagues. She is an advocate for the supporting
the needs of children, youth and families during the Partnerships for Problem-Solving citywide, community training program
designed to implement community-oriented crime and violence reduction activities in DC.
Ms. Dickens is contacted for her expertise and advocacy regarding
the needs of youth and families and was invited to participate in the drafting and co-signing of a Letter to the Editor in
the Washington City Paper. She has led teams of committed volunteers and outreach workers who have assisted
in administering the organization's programs and services under the DC Department of Mental Health (Project DC-a FEMA-funded
Outreach and Education city-wide public resource) intended to address and resolve mental health and coping skills after September
11th attacks, DC Sniper Crisis, West Nile Virus. The S.T.E.P.U.P. Foundation Of Greater Washington, DC,
Inc. was selected by Fight For Children to provide outreach for The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program which provided scholarships
to low-income children in Washington D.C. for tuition and other fees at participating private schools. The program was the
first Federally- funded school voucher program in the United States. It was first approved in 2003 and allowed to expire in
President George W. Bush signed the D.C. School Choice Incentive Act of 2003, creating the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program
to provide scholarships to students from low-income families to attend a private school of choice. The program targeted 2,000
children from low-income families in Washington D.C. These children were given funding to help offset the cost of private
schooling. In 2008, the program funded attendance at 54 D.C. private schools for students from families with an average income
of $22,736, "or about 107 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four." The program was reauthorized
under the SOAR Act in 2011.
The S.T.E.P.U.P Foundation Of Greater Washington, D.C. Inc. was established in the early 1980's as a voluntary
organization founded to improve the standard of living and the quality of life for Children 1-13, Youth 14-26, Parents and
Grandparents as Parents. Through our programs and services, we seek to empower urban youth and families to set, work
toward, and achieve their personal and professional goals. Mobile teams mentor and monitor difficult to reach individuals
and youthful populations. We focus on providing alternative programs and services to reduce crime and illegal activities among
urban youth who are disproportionately incarcerated.
we offer self-help education and training programs tailored to address comprehensive, risk and harm reduction strategies,
through self-help workshops designed to positively intervene in the lives of troubled youth and families in crisis to
prevent involvement in senseless acts of violence. We encourage critical thinking, leadership development, self-help
training (arts education, etiquette, GED preparation, financial literacy, job skill, life skills, and parenting skills)
tailored to engage at-risk, truant, disadvantaged youth, young adults and their families in the Baltimore and Washington,
DC metropolitan areas. We engage youth and families to replace idle time with structured activities to guide young people
towards positive outcomes. Programs cover topics of importance to influence social growth and development and encourage
critical thinking and goal setting in other personal and professional areas such as:
→ Academic Enrichment, Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs, Arts Education
→ Civic Responsibility, Communication Skills, Computer Literacy
→ Driver Education, Environmental Education, Etiquette, Financial Literacy
→ Gang Intervention/Prevention, Health & Wellness, Home Economics (Co-Ed)
→ Leadership Skills, Mobile Mentors: On-Call, Mentoring,
→ Parenting Skills
Education, Performing Arts (Dance), Physical Fitness,
Workforce Development: Income Growth Strategies
Since 2000, our
Youth Quest: 21st Century Initiative has laid the foundation for positive youth development practices and approaches
for low-income individuals and families. Through outreach, education and direct services, we continue to provide opportunities
for youth to experience self-discovery and foster positive growth and self sufficiency. Youth play a pivotal role in
their social development. Youth development is a process by which all young people seek ways to meet their basic physical
and social needs and build the strengths and self-direction to guide their own safe and healthy transition to adulthood. If
young people are not provided with opportunities and supports, they will follow other (more destructive) paths in order to
meet their needs. Youth development practices and approaches views young people as assets to be developed, not
as problems that need fixing.
We proudly follow the DC B.E.S.T. Advancing Youth Development training model.
In 2008, The S.T.E.P.U.P. Foundation launched the Youth Quest: 21st
Century Training Program to invest in Human Capital Development for Economic Success. This comprehensive approach will
reduce homelessness and unemployment by creating affordable housing and aiding entry level job creation. Other programs
such as information access for lifelong learning promotes learning by promoting financial literacy, basic business education
to spur business and enterprise and improve short- and long-term income prospects for difficult-to-employ participants.
We must invest in low-income individuals, youth, families and ex-offenders as assets and resources within communities.
Our innovative ideas support participants becoming a vital part of the new green economy, using environmental awareness to
demonstrate those benefits as opportunities for pathways-out-of-poverty and supports the prevention of recidivism
Our 2010 Property Solutions Workforce Development and training
program can provide economic security which includes hard- and soft-skills job training, housing, job creation and job
placement. We believe that preparation for entry level jobs helps to reduce poverty, crime and victimization. The next step
is to purchase an abandoned building for additional space and expand our outreach efforts as a nonprofit developer to
continue preparing our clients for the green economy. By acquiring and rehabilitating units, we can provide
managed stable housing, financial literacy education, and computer training. Our objective is to bridge the
gap between those with little or no earnings and increase family and income security through workforce development opportunities. We
will utilize job training, career enhancement, micro-enterprise projects (such as exploring sustainable agriculture or
healthy local food production) and various business projects (such as weatherization and installation training) along
with Neighborhood Preservation and Revitalization programs to remove the blight of abandoned and vacant houses in vulnerable
2017 Summer of Safety!
Our Random Acts of Kindness Campaign is still underway. This fundraiser helps build our nonprofit's
capacity to provide social programs that benefit low-income children, youth and families. The Random Acts
of Kindness Campaign is one response to reducing bullying, youth crime and victimization. Funds support
our Youth Quest: 21st Century Training Program to provide intervention and prevention opportunities designed in part, to counter
the growing interest and participation of urban youth in the infamous 'Knock-Out' Game (a violent, unprovoked assault on innocent
victims (of all ages) which is spreading across the nation) and provide mentoring and self-help workshops for youth who bully
and those who are bullied. We provide outreach and education programs geared towards children and youth
in need of supervision by tailoring structured, youth development centered activities (and related field trips) designed to
build confidence and self-esteem.
See the links below for news and videos about the "Knock-Out' Game (warning these videos are graphic and disturbing)
which increase during the summer months:
S.T.E.P.U.P. Foundation Of Greater Washington, D.C. Inc. is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations
are tax deductible. To request a receipt send a detailed email request. Write 'Tax Deductible Receipt Request' in the Subject
line. Provide your name, email, fax number or mailing address, describe the donation type and the retail amount of your donation.
Please allow 30 days for confirmation and response. We welcome inquiries for making financial contributions
and economic partnerships from private and corporate philanthropists. To donate, make checks payable to The S.T.E.P.U.P.
Foundation of Greater Washington, DC or click on the PAYPAL link. We appreciate your continued support.
Questions or Comments? Email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org,
call us at (410) 429-1157 or fax correspondence to: (443) 961-8154.
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