Step Up Moment Stories

More stories from Sabrina Riley


Photo Courtesy of YouTube.

Step Up Moment is a program founded by Le Moyne alum, Kate Waltman ‘13, MBA ‘16, that promotes healthy living. Every Wednesday night, Waltman instructs a workout session for individuals who face homelessness and poverty in Syracuse. If a participant attends five workout sessions, they’ll receive a $50 gift certificate to Nojaims Supermarket, where they can shop for healthy groceries. Waltman was determined to start the program after meeting members of the homeless community and observing how they lived in poverty.

There are negative correlations between poverty and health that seem to be uncontrollable, but Step Up Moment’s mission is to give individuals the opportunity to improve their lifestyle one “step” at a time. “People’s stories make the program,” Waltman said.

Here are some Step Up stories from participants about how the program has impacted their lives in the past year:

Jerry Lieber

Lieber was one of the very first participants in the Step Up program. He was a member of the homeless community when Waltman met him three years ago. Lieber struggled to find food, a place to stay, and the energy to do certain activities. After attending his first session at the Rescue Mission, he began to make some progress. The workouts motivated him throughout the day to accomplish daily goals. Lieber started taking college classes,  which helped him land a job at Cafè Kabul where he now has the opportunity to meet new people and earn his own money. Lieber is grateful for the Step Up Program, saying,  “They gave me hope.”

Nisha Breland

Breland was on a weight loss journey when she met Waltman a year ago at the YMCA. She began gaining weight after the loss of her three-year old daughter and relied heavily on eating food to cope with her depression, but she knew she needed to make a change. So, Breland decided to attend a Step Up workout and since joining has lost 57 pounds, completed her high school degree, and is currently attending Onondaga Community College.

Geri Corradino

Corradino is a volunteer for the Step Up Moment program. She was a little skeptical of the program when she went to the Rescue Mission for her first workout. The area was unfamiliar to her and she wasn’t sure what to expect before walking inside. Corradino was eventually able to push past her fears and thanks to Step Up, her perspective on poverty has since changed. She now looks forward to every Wednesday night because that’s when she gets to work out with her second family.

Gregory Lake

Waltman encountered Lake at a Tim Horton’s two months after he was released from prison. He turned to Waltman for guidance in order to stay out of trouble. Lake wanted to start a program [like Waltman] that would better the community. Together, Lake and Waltman worked together to establish Step Up and it has been the best thing that has happened to him. The program keeps Lake off the streets and involved in the community, which has helped him tremendously over the past year.

The program is always looking for volunteers so if you are interested check out or