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About Us: Mission

About Step Up Ventura


Step Up Ventura provides children experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness the opportunity to flourish by preparing them for kindergarten.


To provide essential mental health, academic support, and behavioral services to unhoused or at-risk of homelessness preschool-aged children so they can excel at school and are less likely to experience homelessness as adults.

Step Up Ventura is a non-profit organization established in 2014 committed to preventing and ending homelessness in Ventura County. 

We specialize in mental health, academic support, and behavioral services for preschool-aged children experiencing homelessness or on the verge of being homeless. We focus on behavioral issues, basic skill sets, school continuity, and coping skills and provide therapeutic resources to support social and emotional well-being, trauma, grief, and positive behavior.​ 

Our program encourages positive pre-K school experiences. We provide nurturing, calming, and appropriately stimulating activities throughout the day by training early childhood educators, caregivers, and mental health workers to meet the unique needs of children affected by homelessness. 

Step Up Ventura requires parent involvement. Parents learn to understand and care for their children with interventions specifically targeted to early childhood brain development and healthy parent/guardian-child attachment. We help infants, toddlers, and young children develop secure attachments and overcome the traumas they have faced. 

Given the detrimental effects on the 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. 

About Us: History

Watch Step Up Ventura's Program Director, Mary O. Kerrigan speak about the need for our programs and services.

About Us: Video
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