Volunteers are an integral part of our program. Volunteers run weekly interest groups for our members, like creative writing and art, as well as help out in our kitchen, assist in day-to-day member services and other important activities. If you are interested in volunteering at Step Up, please download the application, fill it out and send it to:
Step Up on Second
1328 Second Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Thanks for your interest!
Interested in an internship with Step Up? Please use the application below:
Volunteers are the Heart of Step Up!
Jacob Ramsey, Step Up’s 25th Anniversary’s Volunteer of the year
Jacob Ramsey and Step Up Founder, Susan Dempsay. Jacob Ramsey was honored as “Step Up’s 25th Anniversary’s Volunteer of the Year” and received a proclamation from the City of Santa Monica.
Jacob Ramsey is a resident at Step Up and a member of its Board of Directors.
When asked why he cares about the issues of homelessness and mental illness Jacob replies, “SUOS has been a part of my life since the nineties and I am just paying forward everything I have gained in life and at Step Up. Being of service as a volunteer is something I enjoy as much as sports, music, and reading.”
When asked in what ways has volunteering benefited you personally, he smiles and says, “I get a sense of self worth, love, and gratitude by being able to meet the needs of members, people, and friends at Step Up.”
Jacob facilitates six self-help groups each week at Step Up:
“The groups give the members a feeling of connection with the community. A place where members feel they are cared for and understood. They don’t care how much I know they want to know how much I care, and they realize that when they find out I have been facilitating self help support groups for many, many years.”
Congratulations Jacob on being named Step Up’s 25th Anniversary Volunteer of the Year!
Les Jones, 2011 Volunteer of the Year, Los Angeles County 3rd District.
Les Jones is a resident at Step Up and a member of its Board of Directors.
When asked why he cares about the issues of homelessness and mental illness Les replies,
“I have spent much of my adult life homeless. I understand what it is like to be in that position. In the mid 90s my sister talked to me about seeing a doctor, but the stigma was too much for me. Finally in 2000 after being homeless again, I gave up and sought help. Now medication helps me so much and life really is different. I feel calm and alive.”
When asked in what ways has
volunteering benefited you personally, he smiles and says,
“after about a month of being at Step up I volunteered to help take care of the computers. I get so much out of my work at Step Up. It is great to see someone who is totally afraid of computers take the step to show up and sit before them and learn. I really work hard to validate those individuals for being there and to try to make them feel at ease.”
The program Les started has grown into the Step up Learning Center where members can learn skills for the workplace or just for personal enrichment on 13 computers.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do, Phil:
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been motivated to help other people become more empowered and successful. Professionally speaking, I’m a business and sales coach. I work with companies and professionals develop the strategies, actions, and mindset to grow their businesses. I’m also the author of two business/sales books.
Why do you care about the issues of homelessness and mental illness?
My older brother is affected by severe mental illness. His ongoing struggle has had a profound impact on me and on my family. Four years ago, I was introduced to the work of Step Up. I was immediately attracted to the agency’s mission and the vision and I volunteered to become a board member. I love serving on Step Up’s board of directors. We all share a passion for alleviating homelessness and facilitating the recovery of people affected by mental illness. I also serve as chairperson of the Public Relations Committee whose mission is to raise community awareness and eliminate stigma.
Tell us more about your connection to Step Up:
I am a big believer in Step Up’s work. The organization is nationally recognized for its effective and compassionate support and recovery services for individuals affected by severe mental illness. Most of all it’s an organization with heart. After joining the board, I wanted to get more involved with the members and see what was happening on the inside. I volunteered to facilitate a writing group. Every week I come down to Step Up and run the group. It’s an amazing experience. We have animated discussions about the members’ challenges with their illness, recovery, stigma, self-esteem, homelessness, etc. Then I have them write articles about their personal views and experiences. Their articles, stories, and poems are raw and real expressions about mental illness, stigma, recovery, and life. I’ve seen people with very little writing experience articulate their truth in beautiful, stirring pieces. Some of the pieces completely blow me away! I’m constantly amazed by the writers’ artistry, insight, courage, and passion.
Three or four times a year, we publish their articles in a newspaper called Brainstorm. We distribute it to the Santa Monica Library, coffee shops, and local social service agencies. Some of the articles have even been picked up by the Santa Monica Daily Press. We post the articles online at www.stepuponsecond.org/ourmembers/brainstorm.html. We recently published a compilation of articles in a book called
The Heart Speaks.
How do you feel the writing group benefits the members?
Art heals. It helps channel thoughts and emotions and facilitates self-expression, self-understanding, and self-esteem. One member recently said to me, “I can’t tell you how much writing this article has helped me process my thoughts and feelings and get clarity around some of my issues.” I was so moved when I heard that. The members constantly express their gratitude and appreciation for the work we do in the writing group and for the quality of the support they receive at Step Up.
In what ways has volunteering benefited you personally?
My involvement with the members and the board has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring experiences of my life. I am proud to be involved with such a wonderful organization and wonderful people. I’ve become friends with many of the members and with my colleagues on the board. Every time I volunteer, I feel I am making a difference. I encourage people to volunteer their energy to a cause or organization to which they feel a personal connection. Not only will it help your cause and make the world a better place, it will change your life!
Phil Glosserman is a member of Step Up Board of Directors.