As we turn the page to begin 2024, in addition to the incredible things we see through our existing STEP evening mentoring clubs and tutoring in North Little Rock, as well as the existing in school Encourager programs across central Arkansas, we want to share with you just a few highlights of NEW things we saw in 2023…
– In January 2023, the STEP board, staff, and steering committee met to set an aggressive prayer goal to launch a new mentoring center location in Little Rock in summer 2023!
– In February, STEP was awarded the KARK/Fox 16 “Victory Over Violence Difference Maker” award and was featured in a news story.
– As a part of preparing for further multiplication, we brought on additional key staff members – Nathalie Hunt, our new in-school Encourager Program Coordinator in February, and Pastor Cory Wiley, our new STEP LR Mentor Coordinator, in April!
– After lots of investigation and prayer, we found a perfect place to launch STEP LR – the beautiful gym of First Baptist Highland Park Church – at the corner of 18th and Pine in south central Little Rock, just across the street from Stephens Elementary School. Both STEP and FBHPC are thrilled at this special collaboration to reach the families of the neighborhood!
– In partnership with Kids Across America Kamps (KAA), 25 KAA staff and Higher Ground young adults came to help launch our STEP LR location in late June to lead a week-long sports day camp for neighborhood children with water slides, climbing walls, huge blow up games, camp dances and songs, scripture memory, etc. And, most importantly, these children were seeing a wonderful example of praiseworthy young adults who look like them leading them and praising Jesus!
– Ms. Nikita has led a STEP Women's Table Talk session two times each month where dinner is served and spiritual community is built among the moms of STEP and beyond in the NLR Eastgate neighborhood. Beautiful!
– STEP LR evening mentoring program launched in September with Thursday night Friendship Club.
– STEP hosted two financial literacy classes for parents in the NLR neighborhood we serve – 16 parents attended and completed both classes.
– Three additional in-school Encourager programs are launching in new schools – Stephens Elementary LR (Fellowship Bible WLR/Midtown/Espanol), Crystal Hill Elementary NLR (Fellowship Maumelle), Chicot Elementary LR (Little Rock Church).
– STEP programs were promoted at five additional churches this year – Central Baptist Church, NLR; Holy Cross Missionary Baptist Church, LR; Fellowship Midtown LR; Little Rock Church; and Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church.
God is on the move! We are SO thankful we get to be a part, along with you, of His plan to mobilize His people to a greater extent in investing in the lives of under-resourced youth in our community – for His Kingdom purposes!
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth…” – 1 Cor. 3:6