Pre-Collegiate Mentor Paula Stepp |

Pre-Collegiate Mentor Paula Stepp

by Keevyn Scholl
Post independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Family, friends, pets, sports, teaching, volunteering and life. This describes Paula Stepp in a few words. Stepp is a person who gives to others. She volunteers her time for the future education of our valley’s youth.

As the daughter of an Air Force officer, Stepp grew up all over the world. She was born in California, moved to France, spent some time in Japan, and ended up spending her high school career in Colorado, and eventually attending Humboldt State University in California.

Stepp became involved in the Pre-Collegiate Program when her husband was working with the BLM in Glenwood after college. Pre-Collegiate is a program that helps kids whose parents haven’t graduated from college prepare for college. “I have done work with teens and youth through the years,” Stepp said. “I firmly believe education is the cornerstone of what makes a strong and viable community.”

After working with young people for many years, she has concluded that living in the U.S. is a great advantage because we gain 12 years of free education. She wishes education included undergraduate studies for students who show the interest and are willing to put the effort into it.

As a mentor, Stepp’s job is to help with applications for grants and scholarships. “The program has helped my grades because I have the group to encourage me to keep trying my hardest,” GSHS freshman Sierra Weast said. Stepp loves watching students become aware of what they are capable of, and start to work to improve their school career to make bigger goals happen. “The reason why I do the program is because my parents didn’t go to college,” GSHS freshman Michelle Tosie said. “But I am thankful my mother doesn’t have to worry about a thing.”

Stepp believes college is important because it opens doors and puts young people ahead of the pack in a competitive world. “It makes you a better-rounded individual and hopefully gives you a bigger perception of the world,” Stepp said.

Neither of her parents went to college, so attending a university was a big deal for her. As a student, Stepp didn’t know about financial aid and she wished she would have known about programs like this. She hopes she can offer that to some of the students she is currently working with. If Stepp had the opportunity to change anything about this program, she would have more volunteers so the students could have more one-on-one time.

Stepp also does other service work. She volunteers her time with the Healthy Mountain Community, and Junior Achievement. Stepp wishes she had more time for volunteering, but she spends a few hours every other week with the Pre-Collegiate kids.

Aside from working with these programs, Stepp has numerous pastimes that she enjoys. Skiing, Swimming, hiking, biking, reading and hanging out with friends are just few. The perfect Colorado life style.

She has a husband, four kids, a dog and two chinchillas. Her daughter has an engineering degree, two of her boys are in college while one is still in middle school.

“She is an outgoing lady who sets high standards for everyone she believes in,” Weast said. Stepp is one of few who are willing to give their precious time to programs like Pre-Collegiate. “Education is not just college,” Stepp said. “Find things that will make you bigger… better.

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