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The Village Speaks

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" I was blessed to have my son Ngozi Atu enrolled in the STEP Program many years ago. The program effectively develops young inner city Black men into Productive youths who develop Confidence, Self Respect, Healthy Nutritional habits & Discipline. This along with Traditional African Morals and valued, sadly lacking in many of our current learning institutions..

Headed by a staff of dedicated, committed instructors, this program should be heralded as an example of what meaningful and effective Culturally based Education can be. "

Respectfully Submitted

Curtis L Rumph

 

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" The S.T.E.P. organization's presence in our community is vital to say the least. Cultural awareness, nutrition, and urban self defense are just a few of the courses taught by the brothers of S.T.E.P. that have positively impacted my family as well as many others over the years. I'm grateful for the all of the value they continually provide to our young men. They're helping to groom strong husbands, fathers, and leaders so desperately needed in our community. "

 

Sincerely

 

Jamilah Smith

 

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" My son, Xavier, will say he’s most grateful to S.T.E.P. for learning how to defend himself (physically and mentally) and I am also grateful this. However, as a single mom, what I’m mostly appreciative of is the way S.T.E.P. instills brotherhood, self-discipline, personal and community responsibility. Through S.T.E.P. it will one day fully connect for my son that there’s more to the development of manhood than reaching the legal years of manhood; especially for Black men in America. While my son’s participation in ST.E.P. is priceless, I’d love to see this program be more supported so it can expand in membership and community service and do all I know the program has potential and desires to do. "

 

Tamara and Xavier

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" I am writing as a parent who has a 13 year old son in the S.T.E.P program.  My son started the program in January 2022 a couple months before he turned 13 in March.  The S.T.E.P program has helped my son learn more about his African heritage, which he doesn't learn in school.  It has also helped him have more confidence in himself with speaking in public and with his writing skills, which he has struggled with in the past.  He has also learned how to defend himself properly and be more aware of his surroundings when he is out and about outside in the world through the Urban Self Defense training that the S.T.E.P program provides.  In closing, I'd like to say that the S.T.E.P program is a much needed program for young black boys in helping them grow into adulthood and also helping them navigate through this world in becoming upstanding, strong & confident young black men who know themselves and their history. "

 

Sincerely,

 

Ms. Wyatt

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" I would like to take this opportunity to express deep appreciation for all the work that STEP does with the young men in our community and the transformation I have witnessed with my son. Organizations like yours are few and hard to find. After observing your consistency, level of commitment and attending several community events hosted by your organization, I decided to enroll my son into STEP who was 11 years old at the time. I am a firm believer of "it takes a village to raise a child". I knew there were gaps in what I was capable of doing alone and knew I needed support. You helped to reinforce many concepts and lessons that often go in one ear and out the other, because as a parent it often seems that you are the only one speaking positive language. He is now 14 years old and shows greater maturity, accountability and personal responsibility than young men in his age group. In addition, he knows himself in a new way and understands his life long mission as a productive young Black man to himself,  his family and community. He will remain in the STEP program until he ages out, and I would love to see him join you in guiding the next generation of youth. I have since recommended the program to others and hope they take advantage of the opportunity. We are immensely thankful for your efforts and pray that the creator continues to bless you for all your hard work and dedication for many years to come. "


Sincerely, 

 

Taharka Sankara

 

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" I find the STEP program to be a rare and priceless resource for our young boys and their families.  STEP has provided a safe, structured and nurturing space for my son to learn more about his identity, culture and the roles to which he must commit to protect and nurture the broader community of our people.  My son has been a participant in the STEP program since July 2022 and he loves the weekly opportunity to share dialogue, get educated and develop life skills with STEP staff and his  peers.  The program truly fosters a strong and supportive sense of brotherhood among it's participants which helps to combat the divisive attitudes which have historically torn our families and communities apart.   The STEP program is certainly breathing a much needed breathe of fresh air into our our children and our community. "

 

Thanks,

 

Robert D. Smith 

 

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" The STEP organization is an integral part of my family’s life.  As a single mother raising a boy, they provide necessary guidance through modeling excellence and providing crucial and critical life skills, instruction, and demonstration.  They provide a safe and discerning environment with men who really care and are concerned with the overall growth and wellbeing of these boys and the community at large from a holistic standpoint.   Their teachings are broad andrange from science to self-defense to economics to community involvement and more.  It is amuch-neededprogram for teaching and the guidance of black/brown boys to young men.  It is helping my son develop in many ways.  This Rites of Passage program and the only of its kind in the area and we (my family) are extremely blessed to have access to this mentorship and family.  The seeds that are planted through STEP yields a harvest that these young men, their families, and communities will reap from positively.   It truly provides a supportive and village experience. "

 

Tashonda Ferguson

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" The STEP organization is a critically necessary institution for a young black men. It is the much-needed glass of water in the desert that is oftentimes the educational experience of young black boys. It adds to and completes the life lessons learned in even the most stable of homes. Its mentorship, brotherhood and positive impact on the community is unmatched. Personally, it's hard to imagine what life would be like without the powerful influence of the STEP organization. I feel comfortable saying that those whose sons are fortunate enough to be a part of program would say the same. "

 

Sincerely

 

Takiyah Smith

 

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" We are lucky to be proud parents of a 14 yr old in the ST.E.P. Rites of Passage program based in Newark, NJ.

The program has deeply inspired new hope and responsibility for

the community. Since our son Ian Johnson has been accepted, he is becoming

more responsible in this role at home, among his peers, and in his social

behavior as a new member of this safe space for youth in the community.

I can see how he is growing as he gets knowledge in basic principles that is

cultivating social ecotonal and much needed structure. We need this kind of

service to help ease the growing pains and guide his energy that

promotes discipline as he faces the road ahead.

It is the best time in his life for sowing seeds of good fruit that will continue to

produce positivity, community spirit, and Afrikan Centered Experiences to

prepare him in life. "

Melissa Leak

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" Striving Together Equals Progress (STEP) has proven to me and my family that our family is better because of the STEP organization. The STEP program helps youth become better people. This makes the family and community run smoother. The STEP organization is immensely needed in our communities. The STEP program needs to be replicated to a higher scale so that our society has more positive people. The STEP organization teaches youth how to become better students by demonstrating that knowledge empowers people. The STEP organization teaches youth about nutrition and health and other subjects. The STEP organization teaches youth to honor and respect family and community. "

 

Blessings,

 

Walter Theadford

Dad of Two STEP Students

 

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" Since my son Asiedu has been a part of the S.T.E.P.  we have not been disappointed one bit. My son comes from a background where he haven’t had many positive experiences in spaces dominated by AA or people of color, that include his age mates and elders. S.T.E.P. has initiated him to the reality of a well organized, enlightening, self affirming brotherhood beyond empty platitudes. The 3rd or 4th week in he stated, "For the first time I feel I can really be myself, and the people around me get me". He was elated and uncharacteristically open and talkative. Ideas and concepts covered in S.T.E.P. are brought up by my son days and weeks later. He is never in a rush to leave. That’s saying a lot in itself. Clearly Kenyatta and his team are very cohesive, disciplined and inspired. They present a "warrior honor code". Perfect for young men and absolutely necessary to be supported and duplicated. "

 

Kraig Moultrie

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" As a parent to 2 boys being raised in the city of Newark and growing up in this city myself, I am infinitely grateful for the S.T.E.P program. As an educator to nearly 300 students, I see the need for us to collectively support the reach of such a program to continue assisting us in guiding our youth toward developing into the best versions of themselves possible. The S.T.E.P program is for our young men more than what preparatory and finishing programs are for the youth of many other communities. It is a program tailored to proactively build and add to the foundation of our children's sense of self and purpose within the context of pulling together for greater good of our community. This program enhances the efforts of parents and schools, and in some case, it supplements where there may be deficits of strong, positive male guidance representative of the youth being served in our community. This program represents hope actualized with its holistic, grassroots approach to fostering wellness among our youth. "

Mrs. Akiva Simmons-Rolle
( Proud STEP Parent & Public School Educator.