The group elected to support two charities. Big Steps is the Little Project and Little Steps is the Big Project.
The group partnered with the Teen Achievers with the YMCA, a group that encourages teens to seek higher education to overdrive that program. Teen Achievers asked the group for help creating a contact list for volunteer and success coaches, companies willing to provide job shadowing opportunities to teens, and recruiting inspirational leaders to speak to high schools in our community.
The team will host a Big Steps Breakfast event and invite business leaders to learn about the YMCA Teen Achievers. The Director of the Teen Achievers, Jessica Sharp, simply needs to be in front of the right people to tell her story. The group will make that happen by organizing a breakfast and use our connections to help Teen Achievers create a working list of companies.
Patterned after a previous DLI Capstone group, The Mobilizers, Big Steps : Little Steps will use a similar solution to positively affect a different social issue. The team will purchase, wrap and outfit a bus, van or truck with items to support a portable classroom and mobile baby boutique. This vehicle will be utilized to bring Little Steps parenting classes to local schools and other community centers. This project will make it possible for the organization to reach an additional 100 young parents, doubling their current capacity, in the first year alone and cutting their current costs in half per participant. The vehicle will also serve many other purposes in support of their overall programming such as transporting donated items on a weekly basis and providing a tool for heightened awareness in the community. In combination of these two purposes, Little Steps will also have the ability to set up at partner locations to hold drives for items regularly needed such as diapers, clothing, and baby equipment.
Little Steps currently serves 100 families annually. There are approximately 40-50 teenage parents on their waiting list at any given time. Due to the epidemic of teenage pregnancy, Greenville County School District has approached Little Steps to teach the Earn While You Learn program at many of their high schools. Little Steps has explored creating up to 15 different satellite locations. Putting the Earn While you Learn program into a box truck or van will increase awareness, allow Little Steps to maximize their resources, transport volunteers, and drive/transport donations.
While there were many worthwhile causes explored by this group, providing a mobile classroom will best utilize its diversity to provide the greatest impact in strengthening young families. Little Steps was enthusiastic from the beginning and has committed to staff and operate the vehicle on an ongoing basis in Greenville County. Little Steps has also committed to help leverage their current community partnerships to make this a sustainable resource to benefit generations to come.