Creating a motivation

Step Up Mentoring program inspires to help students


Alexandra Canizales

Step Up bracelets are displayed on a table at the Farmer's Market on Tuesday, April 16.

Wanting to create a service that would impact fellow students, members of the INCubatoredu class used the course to create a program to benefit high school students. Seniors Camille Mims, Jessica Patino, Innan Santos and Raymond Powell created Step Up Mentoring at the beginning of the school year with hopes of expanding the program.

Step Up Mentoring is a cross-mentoring service for high school students to connect with college students and be mentored by them. The idea was sparked when the group members discussed problems they saw in school and with their peers. The team wanted to create something that would benefit and motivate their fellow students in school.

“Our theme is ‘Get motivated, be motivated,’” Mims said. “We [thought the] best way to keep the backbone is to stay motivated and keep remembering our purpose.”

The team’s program was chosen from the business and marketing class to move up to the INCubatoredu class. This opportunity provided them a chance to improve their service and get it funded.  

“When we first got told to come up with something that you would love to see come to life we had all these ideas come [to] mind, but at one point my group and I got personal and came up with Step Up,” Santos said.

The team had to focus on its main goal, which was to create the best possible service that would motivate and benefit at-risk students.

“The main goal they have is to decrease student drop out,” INCubator adviser Valerie Cooper said. “Ultimately, the goal is to help these young people live thriving and productive lives in the future.”

The team experienced difficulties in starting its program and trying to make it a nonprofit organization. The INCubatoredu class had business owners who were able to mentor the Step Up group and answer their questions.

“There [were] some rough points,” Santos said. “We didn’t know much about growing it as a nonprofit organization. But when you have mentors coming into class, answering questions [and sharing] experiences, you can learn from [them]; it really helps.”

Now the group is focusing on Farmer’s Market, an in-school event where groups are able to pitch their ideas to students with hopes of getting enough votes to push their programs or inventions further. Cooper is proud of the team of the seniors and their creations.

“I’m so proud of the success these kids have accomplished in this time,” Cooper said. “Their future is limitless and every day I see them they just inspire me to be a better human because they are fantastic people, talented and I can’t wait to see what the world looks like when I [let] them loose.”