Students Together Empowering Personal Success (STEPS)

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Apply to be a STEPS Mentor

Become a STEPS mentor and offer yourself as a resource, guide, support and listening ear for a Tacoma area student. STEPS mentors commit to meeting once a week with their mentee(s) to assist them in their personal growth and identity development along with assisting in academic growth. Research shows that mentoring has a multitude of positive effects on youth and helps to strengthen communities.

STEPS mentors share knowledge and experience in navigating the process of high school graduation, college admissions and career exploration. This partnership offers a wealth of benefits including:

  • Leadership development and enhanced personal growth
  • Networking opportunities with peers, faculty, staff and community members
  • A greater sense of pride and belonging in one's community
  • A chance to make a significant difference in the lives of youth

STEPS mentors are serving at schools within the Tacoma School District:

* Schools are to be determined. 

Each partnership offers a multiplicity of mentor settings, all of which are based off of the student’s need at each school. To learn more about mentoring dynamics and schedules at each school, feel free to visit the About Our Partner Schools page.  For more information, questions, or concerns, please contact STEPS Program Staff by emailing

How Does It Work?

UW Tacoma STEPS mentors provide guidance and support to local Tacoma youth, many of whom will be the first in their family to attend college. Through our new school partnerships, mentors are also working with students across the K-12 system to provide early academic support. STEPS mentors and mentees meet throughout the academic year for mentoring sessions as well as engage together in local service opportunities. STEPS mentors draw upon personal experience and formalized training to provide their mentees with guidance and support in areas including:

  • Academic assistance
  • Life skills support and training
  • Socio-emotional skill building
  • Identity development and growth
  • College and career preparation
  • Financial aid planning
  • State testing preparedness
  • College applications and essays

The Nuts and Bolts of STEPS

Program Orientation:
When you become a STEPS mentor, you will attend an orientation designed to give you a deeper understanding of the challenges facing first-generation students. Orientations complement one's personal experience to provide a solid foundation for effectively supporting youth.

Program Placement:
UW Tacoma students are matched with mentee(s) who as much as possible share similar interests, as well as your schedule. Each school has different mentoring scenarios some are more academic-based, where some allow more of an opportunity to build personal relationships with students. We strive to place mentors at schools that fulfill their expectations, but also provide opportunities for personal growth.

STEPS mentors receive on-going training to improve their mentoring capabilities. Trainings offer opportunities to improve one's leadership, communication and mentoring skills. Trainings are also an opportunity to connect with peers in the UWT community, share stories, and support each other.

On top of orientation and ongoing trainings, the STEPS team provides resources and support to mentors throughout their mentoring experience.

How Can I Get Involved?

Simply complete the STEPS Mentor Application, attend the STEPS Mentor Orientation (date chosen in your application), choose your school site of service (chosen in your application), and be matched with your mentee!  A criminal background check is required in order to be matched with a student mentee.


Sara Contreras | | 253-692-4776 | WCG 102