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Step Up Ventura is a non-profit organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in Ventura County.

We work with young children experiencing homelessness or on the verge of being homeless to help resolve social-emotional problems and develop fundamental behavioral and academic skills. Our program is designed to promote positive pre-K school experiences for these children paving the way for a bright future, reducing the risk of adult homelessness, and setting the stage for soaring academic achievements.

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 A Message From the President of Step Up Ventura Board

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the closure of Step Up Ventura.

December 1, 2023

Dear Friends of Step Up Ventura,

Step Up Ventura was organized in late 2014 and began its journey of giving quality support to children ages 0-5 whose families were unhoused or at high risk of becoming unhoused. We focused on supporting secure family attachments, teacher training, and particularly addressing the needs of these children in the classroom.  Paramount was establishing a connection and a supportive, growing environment for these children in order to resolve trauma and prepare them for success in kindergarten.  

During our 7-years, we provided services at three Ventura preschools,  Magic Carousel, Happy Ventures and Easterseals of Southern California as well as one-on-one outreach services to families. Since beginning services, we have had an amazing leader, lover of children, incredible trainer, and supervisor in the person of Mary O. Kerrigan, our program director.

Our director, interns and volunteers provided program services, mental health sessions,  and parent coaching to approximately 190 children and their parents.  Additionally,  115 teachers were trained, 275 children participated in socio-emotional groups, and 120 children participated in our pre-literacy one-on-one reading program. Needless to say, none of this would have been possible without the generous financial support of you and our loyal donors and volunteers.  

This past fiscal year presented many challenges for us.  We had a significant loss of board and committee members and a lack of new volunteers to carry on the necessary work.   Additionally, dedicated financial support declined, fundraising events did not meet budget goals and grant revenue diminished from previous years. Please know we have much appreciation for all you have done to help us fulfill our mission.  However, as generous as our sponsors and donors have been, we had to draw upon our reserve funds to continue services this year.  At this point, funding sources are not sufficient to continue covering ongoing expenses.

We are sad to announce the closure of Step Up Ventura with program operations ceasing effective December 31, 2023.  We know that your support and our work improved the lives of families and prepared vulnerable children for success in kindergarten.  Upon closing, our funds will be donated to local organizations that will continue to address the needs of disadvantaged children.

Thank you for your caring support of these children and their families through the years with us. You have been on our journey with us and are very much appreciated.  

Sincerely and with gratitude,

Judy Alexandre, Board President of Step Up Ventura

Preparing Ventura County homeless children for kindergarten readiness

Step Up Ventura provides academic and therapeutic services to children five and younger experiencing homelessness or on the verge of homelessness.

501 (c) (3) non-profit organization | Tax ID# 47-2705728

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Who We Are

Step Up Ventura is a nonprofit organization established in 2014 supported primarily by volunteers and the generosity of private donors and foundations. Given the detrimental effects on development caused by homelessness, we know that young children experiencing homelessness benefit from receiving quality early care, education and therapeutic services. Many barriers limit children's access to these services. Our goal is to provide Ventura County children with quality essential services so they can excel at school and are less likely to experience homelessness as adults.

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Our Mission & Vision


We are passionate about helping children five and younger who are homeless or on the verge of being homeless. We help them and their families connect, heal and learn.


Parents and legal guardians learn to understand and care for their children with interventions specifically targeted to early childhood brain development and healthy parent/guardian-child attachment.


We collaborate with specially trained early
childhood educators, caregivers, and mental health workers to improve a child's communication, social interactions and
cognitive learning.


We offer enriching educational and therapeutic services for children receiving full-time infant and toddler care or preschool.  Services are provided at qualifying child development resource programs and include working with parents and staff for the optimal development of each child.

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We have over 6,000 homeless children in Ventura County who are 80% less likely to become homeless as adults if they receive quality early care, education and therapeutic services.

Thank you for your support!

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"Step Up Ventura has given me a chance to get back on my feet and provided me with the skills needed to help with my son and his behavior."

Step Up Ventura Client

“I see homeless persons everywhere I drive, walk and work in Ventura County. What drew me to Step Up Ventura is now I can impact homelessness at its very root."

Step Up Ventura Donor

"I love volunteering for Step Up Ventura and giving back to my community! The children and familes they serve are amazing and I'm truly grateful to be apart of the SUV Team."

Step Up Ventura Volunteer

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