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