When I was first introduced to StepUp, I was struck by its values - not only the beautiful way in which they were written but the tone they set in how we serve community. As we approach our one-year anniversary, I reflect on these tenets, how we have lived into them and how they will guide our work in this new year. At StepUp Durham:
We believe lives are transformed through God's love and grace.
We are guided by the needs of our participants.
We are careful stewards of all relationships and resources in our care.
We seek and value diversity, inclusiveness, equity, accountability and collaboration.
We joyfully celebrate efforts and success.
In less than one year, we built our donor base from 0 to 178 investors, exceeded our fundraising goals, have 40 graduates employed and work with over 45 employers committed to hiring from us.
Behind each of these accomplishments has been a process of mindfulness, intentionality, and stewardship. We examine our curriculum and language to make sure that StepUp Durham provides mutual accountability between the staff and our participants, looks at assets not deficiencies, seeks to show dignity and not exploit, and considers the systemic issues that surround poverty. We have selected spaces for our jobs training – nonprofits, places of worship and community centers - to be inclusive of all participants and engage the greater Durham community. When our graduates call us with the news of their employment, we respond with cheers and noisemakers. Their reaction is joy, gratitude and sometimes embarrassment, but each person feels celebrated and affirmed.
This year, we will focus on strengthening relationships with our partners. In doing this, we hope to help place 100 people into employment, reach our new and increased financial goals and launch a program that addresses our graduates and their families in a more holistic way.
Thank you for helping us this year. We ask for your continued support as, together, we strive to transform lives through employment and life skills training.