About Needham Steps Up

The Needham Steps Up mentoring program (NSU), based at Needham High School, pairs a caring staff member with a student who could benefit from one-to-one mentoring. Participating students must be eligible for free or reduced lunch. 


Mentors are paired with students in January of their freshman year and remain with them for the duration of their high school years. The pairs meet at least weekly to address a range of experiences, from social issues to course selection and goal setting. As students reach the upper grades, mentors provide critical assistance with the college application process. 

Mentors receive a yearly stipend as compensation for their time and to be used for mentor/mentee activities. Find out more about our mentors. On average, $4,200 funds one student for three-and-a-half years of mentoring. In addition, each student may access $500 during their time in the program for a pre-approved enrichment activity (e.g., summer camp, music lessons, or educational travel). Finally, graduates of the program receive a $250 scholarship award to defray college or other post-secondary expenses.

NSU gives income-eligible students the chance to become part of a smaller, supportive community within the high school, and access to the resources and opportunities that may be more readily available to their peers.  It is a way to establish equity in the Needham High School community. Since its inception, the program has improved the lives and futures of dozens of Needham students. 

"For some low-income Needham students, lack of means or parental awareness are obstacles preventing them from taking full advantage of available resources. NSU mentors help their mentees access resources and opportunities, while providing guidance toward achieving post-secondary goals. I am so proud of our community for rallying behind these students by supporting the Needham Steps Up mentoring program."
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Amy Goldman, Needham Steps Up Advisory Board