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Step Up Cincinnati

If you’re looking for proof that high school students can do something big, look no further. Step Up Cincinnati is the region’s largest one day, student-run service event, taking place this year on September 8. Step Up is associated with UGive, a non-profit focused on providing high school aged youth with volunteer opportunities, but the event is planned entirely by high school interns over the summer.

It all started with the first high school internship program. The internship focused on leadership, development, and service, and culminated in a large project for the interns at the end of the summer. That year, the interns decided that they wanted to do something that would bring the whole city together, showcase its diversity, and have a day of service. The result was Step Up Cincinnati. Since its start, it’s grown each year. This year they expect five hundred participants, who will be able to volunteer at twenty-five non-profits and organizations all over the city.

The sixty high school interns are broken into committees during the summer to plan specific parts of the event – some contact nonprofits, others plan the after party, and more are in charge of communications, among other duties. On the day of the event, you will once again see teenagers running the show. Students arrive early to set up the event, check everyone in, and ensure that each participant is sent to the correct volunteer opportunity. Some are student leaders and accompany groups to the volunteer site, another group of students handles the media, and yet another transforms the check-in area into a great place for every participant to enjoy the after party. Step Up is truly an event that’s by teens and for teens.

UGive hopes that Step Up Cincinnati will contribute to its ultimate goal of creating “life-long givers.” By offering a wide range of volunteer opportunities in multiple categories, students get to volunteer for causes they’re passionate about. It’s a great way to see that volunteering can be fun and a way to meet new friends, not just a requirement for school. Hopefully with this event, even more teens will recognize the value of service.

What are you waiting for? If you live in the Cincinnati area and want to join in!