Step Up steps back into action this fall

Step Up Youth Challenge serving learning program for youth returns this fall after a one-year hiatus

TULARE COUNTY – After a one-year hiatus, Tulare County’s Step Up Youth Challenge is returning this fall. Now in its tenth year, the Challenge is a six-month service-learning program designed for students to create projects that positively impact school culture and their communities.

The theme of this year’s event was inspired by a quote from tennis legend Arthur Ashe, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Participating middle and high schools will be competing for grants totaling $13,000.

The program kicks off with a mandatory Advisor Training on Sept. 9 beginning at 4 p.m. Details on the Youth Summit, the project development and submission process, and the Red Carpet Awards ceremony will be shared at the Advisor Training. Advisors are encouraged to register by Sept. 7 to attend the training by visiting

On Sept. 22 and 23, advisors and their student team members will come together for a full-day Youth Summit designed to motivate and inspire them on their journey to create impactful projects. Middle school teams will attend the Sept. 22 training; high school teams will attend the training on Sept. 23.

The Step Up Youth Challenge is coordinated on behalf of the county of Tulare by TCOE’s Character Counts program. For more information, contact Kelley Petty, program coordinator, at 559-740-4303 or [email protected].

In 2011, Tulare County’s Gang Task Force recognized the need to target their prevention efforts toward middle school aged youth. The Step Up Youth Challenge was created to provide an opportunity for middle school and high schools to engage a diverse group of students in a project-based learning challenge throughout the course of a school year.

The Step Up Challenge takes place over the course of a school year, beginning in September and ending in April or early May of each school year. Teams of up to 12 members are encouraged to choose a project that addresses issues such as gangs, drug abuse, peer pressure, bullying, self-esteem, non-violence, or suicide prevention. By early April, the teams will complete their projects and submit a project summary documenting its success. The $13,000 in grants will be released within a month of the awards event.

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