For the past ten years Step It Up, Inc. has worked to enrich the lives of youth in the Portland Metro area. It started with a vision and a passion to make a difference and fill a need missing for youth in our community. Former Executive Director and founder Linda McNeill responded to the need to prepare youth for the workforce and provide them internship opportunities and worked tirelessly to fulfill these needs. In large part the efforts of Linda and Step It Up were a great success as the lives of numerous youth have been touched and transformed.
Students searching for support in their desire to do more with their lives than they thought possible came to Step It Up and got assistance to help them get jobs and enroll in college. We have seen first in their family high school graduates, first in their family college attendees, and new dreams and passions arise in the students we have worked with. A current student stated recently that “for the first time I am thinking about life after high school” – her first step to success. The outcomes of our youth are impressive:
100% graduate high school
100% attend college
35% are hired by their internship site
The needs of our youth have not changed much over the last ten years; students still do not receive all the training and encouragement they need from our schools or even at home. We can’t expect them to either. Students need to find encouragement from a diverse variety of sources; sources as diverse and unique as they are themselves. It has always been SIU’s desire to match this need.
This is why it is with great sadness that we must announce the closure of Step It Up, Inc. For a variety of reasons, funding being the most predominant, we are not able to continue with our mission. While it is the end of the road for SIU it is just the beginning for those whose lives have been touched by the generous work of our staff and volunteers. As we close this door we are confident that many doors will open for all of you.
Thank you for playing such a significant part of our journey. Without your generous support, Step It Up could not have made the positive impact in the lives of our youth for which we are proud.
Sincerely, SIU’s Board of Directors Dean Fortin Carol Tatch Marilyn Crilley Justin Dernison
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