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The S.O. What! Foundation’s STEP OUT program helps youth STEP OUT of their comfort zones, STEP OUT of their challenging situations, and STEP OUT of their own way to live their best lives. The program provides opportunities and experiences to equip youth with tools and life skills to prepare them to overcome obstacles, eliminate excuses, and achieve success regardless of the challenges they face. 



The S.O. What! Foundation focuses on youth with identified challenges and provide the opportunity for them to participate in a year-round program that focuses on helping them to deal with trauma, overcome obstacles, meet their goals, and achieve their dreams. 

Who can participate?

The STEP OUT program is open to rising 6th-12th grade male and female students in Memphis/Shelby County with identified challenges that may include but are not limited to economic disadvantages, academic difficulties, self-esteem issues, teen pregnancy, or single parent or fatherless homes. Youth can be recommended by parents or guardians, guidance counselors, and other organizations. Youth may also sign up to participate themselves. Both male and female high school youth will be selected. The criteria includes: 

  • Criteria: 

  • Economic Status 

  • Single Parent Household 

  • Teen parent 

  • Academic Challenges 

  • Involvement in the Juvenile Justice System 

  • 6-12th grade

Participants will: 

  • Engage in year-round workshops and activities focused on personal development and growth 

  • Develop a better understanding of themselves and others 

  • Create plans for dealing with their challenges 

  • Create personal branding and success plans 

  • Participate in community service projects 

  • Participate in leadership training and opportunities 

  • Discover educational and career opportunities 

  • Participate in the S.O. What! Foundation Summer Experience which includes an array of unique learning opportunities 

  • S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education Curriculum to life. It includes:


The S.O. What! Foundation’s STEP OUT program brings the 
S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education Curriculum to life. It includes: 

The STEP OUT Program begins with the Summer Experience. 

The Summer Experience 

Using the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum, this two-week camp is interactive summer experience exposing participants to a range of activities and opportunities to help them deal with life’s challenges, get to know themselves and others, and expose them to career opportunities and how to achieve them. Participants will visit locations discussed in the curriculum such as FedExForum and engage in similar activities like volunteer projects.


Each season participants will engage in a new development-focused workshop. 

Workshop series 

  • Self-esteem, Sex, and Success (Fall) 

  • College and Career Ready (Winter) 

  • Healthy Lifestyles (Spring)


After completing the Summer Experience and workshop series, participants experience a life-impacting trip and a celebratory awards and scholarship program. 

Washington, DC Exposure trip

The Washington, DC Exposure trip revisits the Summer Experience curriculum and exposes students to new opportunities discussed in the summer portion of the program as well as the workshops. Participants will learn to navigate the airport and receive luggage teaching and encouraging them to explore the world. They will visit colleges as well as the National Mall, museums, and other historic sites. Check out our last trip! 

S.O. What! Awards and Scholarship Soiree 

The S.O. What! Awards and Scholarship event is an annual fundraiser where local community leaders will be honored for their stories of achieving success in spite of their obstacles. S.T.E.P.-O.U.T. participants participate in the program, and high school seniors in the program are awarded scholarships and support for their post-secondary opportunities. Funds raised from the event go towards participant scholarships as well as scholarships for other youth. 


Mentoring will be provided throughout the entire program in conjunction with community partners. 

Self-Esteem Teamwork Exposure Personal development Overcome Understand Triumph 

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