Financial Institution Awards $12,500 Grant to UH’s Stars of Tomorrow Excellence Program (STEP)
Thanks to a $12,500 grant from Capital One, students from Houston’s Edison Middle School will gain exposure to college life, learn the tools of financial planning and running a business, and enjoy a first-hand glimpse of the Mayor’s Office.
The Capital One grant was awarded recently to the Stars of Tomorrow Excellence Program (STEP), an outreach effort at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. The funding from Capital One will enable Edison Middle School 7th and 8th graders to engage in a host of programs and opportunities designed to turn them into successful college students and leaders.
“The Bauer College would like to thank Capital One for its support,” said Joyce Williams, program manager for STEP. “The Stars of Tomorrow Excellence Program truly makes a difference in the lives of middle-school students and sets them on a path of being financially prepared for successful careers and achieving their dreams.”
As STEP participants, Houston middle-schoolers get guidance and mentorship from Bauer College leaders and students. They learn financial literacy via the Texas Reality Check website, which gives them a head start on career planning by matching their desired future income with appropriate occupations.
They learn about leadership, teambuilding and entrepreneurship by assisting at Bauer College’s annual Wolffest, a food-business competition for students at the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship. The Wolffest experience helps the youngsters prepare for their own Lemonade Day, a national event that teaches kids the basics of entrepreneurship.
“We think it’s important to get the youngsters on campus so they can experience it and meet our students,” Williams said. “They build relationships with college students, and they leave thinking, ‘If they can do it, I can, too.’”
Also this year, the STEP students will learn about community service by conducting a food drive at their school.
At the end of the day, Williams said, STEP empowers students to emerge as leaders in their own right, taking their insights and observations back to their home school.
“We try to instill in them that they are role models,” Williams said, “and that they have a sphere of influence on their own campus.”
By Wendell Brock