LOS ANGELES (August 29, 2022) – Mentorship nonprofit Step Up will expand its programs to Nashville this fall, thanks to a multi-year investment from award-winning actress, entrepreneur, producer, and New York Times bestselling author Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon’s support means that high school girls in Nashville will have access to on-campus, after-school mentorship programs, as well as the support of the organization’s national community of mentors. The gift is one of the most significant multi-year investments in the organization's new program model, which recognizes that there are many paths to success for young people.
The partnership begins this back-to-school season with Step Up’s free mentorship programs being offered at three Metro Nashville Public Schools: KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School, LEAD Southeast High School and Stratford STEM Magnet High School. Girls, and those who identify with girlhood, who are enrolled at these schools will be invited to join Step Up for a nine-week curriculum focused on building confidence, developing skills, and expanding community, including a special emphasis on financial literacy. Teens will also experience one of Step Up’s signature programs, Explore Pathways, which will take them to visit a local workplace for career exploration and behind-the-scenes inspiration.
The throughline of Witherspoon’s community impact is her support of initiatives that empower women and girls. She continues this focus with her multi-year commitment to Step Up and her desire to bring the organization’s mentorship programs to girls in her hometown of Nashville.
“I deeply believe in expanding educational opportunities for young women, beyond traditional school curriculums, before they enter the working world,” Witherspoon said. “Whether that is a financial education, broadening one’s understanding of workplace opportunities, or the lengthy and nuanced processes of applying to college, it's truly an honor to get to provide these young women with life-changing tools. I believe mentorship is a key part of empowering the next generation and I feel so lucky to partner with Step Up, an organization committed to ensuring girls, and all who identify with girlhood, have the confidence, capabilities, and community they need to navigate their future. I couldn’t be more excited to create these programs right in my hometown of Nashville and to meet and nurture these young women as they reach their highest potential and fulfil their biggest dreams.”
Step Up CEO Delores Druilhet Morton said, “Step Up is invigorated by the investment and support of Reese Witherspoon, who is committed to the advancement of the next generation of women leaders. We believe girls deserve to define and pursue success on their terms. We’re delighted to partner with Reese, an inspiring example of a leader who is doing exactly that – and who is ensuring those who follow will navigate life’s path with the necessary confidence, capabilities, and community.
After launching programs this fall, Step Up will deepen its offering in the Nashville community in 2023 and 2024, expanding to additional high schools and offering more programs including a mentorship conference for local women and girls.
The organization, which will celebrate its 25th year of service in 2023, also offers free on-campus mentorship programs for girls in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York, and virtual mentorship support for young women ages 14-23 everywhere.
Alissa Zito Cruz, Step Up