Step2 Program Launches with Cohort of 14

  Photo:  Juan Nelson, StepUp Durham Employment Counselor and Community Outreach Coordinator, teaches the Choices, Decisions, and Consequences (CDC) module for Personal Development

Photo: Juan Nelson, StepUp Durham Employment Counselor and Community Outreach Coordinator, teaches the Choices, Decisions, and Consequences (CDC) module for Personal Development

The 2018 Step2 program officially launched its first cohort this month. The program is geared towards partnering with StepUp workshop graduates and individuals referred by community partners as they pursue their goals and maintain support in their careers. The Step2 program runs 32 weeks out of the year in four 8-week phases. The curriculum empowers participants through topics related to personal development, financial education, and career pathways.

Participants dedicate two hours of their Tuesday evenings to learning ways to navigate a variety of life circumstances, including increasing their financial understanding and building community with others in their cohort. Step2 supports a decrease in recidivism and an increase in community support and job retention.

Our community partners are also a key part of the Step2 process. We work alongside and collaborate with: Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church (where Step2 is hosted), Church World ServicePartners for Youth Opportunities(PYO), Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), Helius FoundationDurhamCAN, and many others.

  Photo:  Sylvia from Latino Community Credit Union teaches the Financial Education modules

Photo: Sylvia from Latino Community Credit Union teaches the Financial Education modules

This month, Phase I of Step2 consists of 2 cohorts: Financial Education and Personal Development. Our facilitators are community partners in different fields that work to provide weekly activities that fuel and assist the long-term goals of the 14 participants enrolled in Step2.

In these past weeks, the Financial Education cohort has been learning from the Latino Community Credit Union about personal budgeting, credit rebuilding, and opening savings accounts. The Personal Development cohort will be engaging with Partners for Youth Opportunities (PYO) facilitators around effective communication techniques for personal growth. PYO students have been hired to provide childcare for all Step2 participants. Other community partners will be leading sessions in health and self-care, decision-making, and community building.

The Step2 program also includes a Savings Match Program, which encourages participants to build their savings and become more conscious of budgeting. Participants are expected to bring a $10 money order or a deposit receipt of $10 from LCCU every week. At the end of each phase, a 50% match is applied to every savings deposit they’ve made on time. Cynthia, a StepUp Workshop Graduate and Step2 participant, expressed that her Step2 goal is to save towards a vehicle through this matched savings program.

In Phase 2, we will introduce participants to their Co-Partners who will work on a individual/smaller group basis to further assist participants in being accountable to their goals. We invite our community partners to continue referring potential Step2 participants interested in taking their next steps up!

Written by Jonathan Osei, Duke Chapel Pathway Fellow & Step2 Program Coordinator

Emily Dao-Forrester