Six years ago, Ashanti was unemployed and searching for work. A staffing agency recommended StepUp Wilmington and she decided to take a chance, not knowing that this chance would become the start of a new career path, a new passion and a new life.
Ashanti completed Jobs Week, became employed full-time and went back to school to pursue her bachelor’s, but that wasn’t the end of her journey with the organization.
In 2016, she was hired by StepUp Wilmington as a Financial Assistant but quickly realized her passion for working with the individuals and families in the organization’s life skills initiative, Step2, moving her to a Case Manager position and, ultimately, into her current role as Program Manager. Her experience in this role has made Wednesday’s her favorite day of the week!
“My favorite part of my job is, of course, Wednesday evenings! I love being apart of our community of thriving support,” Ashanti said. “Each Wednesday, Step2 participants, Jobs Week graduates, volunteers and staff get together, share a meal and learn ways to continue on a path towards leading a stable life.”
Ashanti connects most to the part of StepUp Wilmington’s mission that states, “to empower individuals to reach their potential,” as her role directly influences the encouragement and confidence-building of those that she takes under her wing in Step2. With the program’s 100% investment match, Ashanti, with the help of volunteers, helps individuals’ budget and put their new earnings towards a goal like a down-payment on a car or a new home, pushing them closer to ultimate stability.
In five years, she predicts that everyone in the Cape Fear Region will know the name: StepUp Wilmington.
“I see StepUp as a household name, where everyone in this community knows that we help provide jobs with fair wages and the support individuals need to become a thriving member of society,” Ashanti said.
In addition to her role at StepUp Wilmington, Ashanti is also involved with Tri-County Homeless Interagency Council, the Race Equity Discussion Series, the New Hanover County Community Remembrance Project and a mentee with WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative mentoring program.
Thank you, Ashanti, for all that you do!