S.T.E.P.U.P. program teaches high school students entrepreneurial and life skills

June 21st, 2012

Sixteen Richmond High School students will participate in the 2012 Student Training Entrepreneur Program with Unlimited Potential (S.T.E.P.U.P.), a four-week program in entrepreneurship going on now through July 7. S.T.E.P.U.P. meets every weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Innovation Center.

Students participating in the program include Aaron Davis, Aubrey Rogers, Brett Lamb, Chris Fonseca, Devon Mack, Haley Rice, Jy’Air Coffey, Megan Daniels, Nakaya Leverette, Nate Martin, Rea’Shawn Bell, Shandice Joiner, Terrance Tevis, Ulexis Spicer, Virtuous Gray, and Taylor Strunk.

The program is sponsored by the Crystal Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit organization in California. Tim and Pam Coffey established the foundation in 2001 to provide support and educational assistance to deserving, at-risk students. Tim Coffey is a 1978 Richmond High School graduate.

The Coffey’s believe that every student who is willing to make the sacrifices to do whatever it takes to be successful in school, and in life, should have the opportunity to do so.  Students who come from economically challenged families need someone to give them a little extra assistance for them to be able to stay in the hunt and have a fighting chance.  The major premise behind the S.T.E.P.U.P summer educational program is to find these students, and to give them this opportunity.

Thomas Ogle is the executive director for the foundation. He is also a Richmond High School graduate from the Class of 1979.

“We are attempting to take these students out of their comfort zone, expand their personal and business skills set, and give them the necessary tools to become successful not only in business, but in life,” Ogle said.

Tim Scales, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and lecturer of business administration at IU East, has developed the curriculum for students to use this summer. Scales will be a guest lecturer for the program.

“It is exciting to have the opportunity to develop the curriculum and provide the materials for entrepreneurship programs and it’s rewarding to assist in the implementation of the activities,” Scales said. “I appreciate the strong interest our community is showing for entrepreneurship and marketing.”

As part of the program, the students are learning about entrepreneurship through academic activities and lectures, and then job shadow Richmond business owners to put learning into practice.

The curriculum will be taught by Marion High School teacher Cortney Bridgeforth. She instructed the first S.T.E.P.U.P. program in Richmond in 2011. She is also a 2006 graduate of Richmond High School. Bridgeforth said during the morning, students will learn skills to help them with resumes, applications and jobs. They will also research careers, college degrees and get help preparing for the application process.

“The program is an entrepreneurial work program that teaches life skills and entrepreneurship in different forms,” Bridgeforth said. It’s a really good program and experience for students who may have never really thought about what they wanted to do in the future.”

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