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December 20, 2011

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December 20, 2011

ASTEP's mission--to empower disenfranchised youth through the arts--is unique and powerful. The organization serves several under-served communities both domestic and abroad. Through my experiences and from what I have heard from those who volunteered in South Africa and India, I believe their domestic programs are much better established and have fewer organizational kinks. ASTEP has incredible potential and it seems that as it is changing leadership, it is improving both in terms of impact and professionalism. I would certainly recommend volunteering one's time in Florida or NYC, but am hesitant to commend their work abroad. As ASTEP starts to recruit more heavily through Idealist.org and other formal sources, they will hopefully establish more professional leadership, preferably from industry professionals with demonstrated international development experience. Currently, ASTEP suffers from the same three drawbacks that seem rampant in any nonprofit: 1) A high degree of nepotism and croneyism, 2) Poor communications, and 3) an absentee founder. But again, like any nonprofit, their work may outweigh the negatives. A friend of mine spent a substantial amount of time volunteering with ASTEP in India and while I would not put up with some of the things she shared with me, she seemed to have an overall positive experience.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Okay

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Some

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

November 4, 2009

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November 4, 2009

I first heard about AStep after agreeing to perform in a benefit concert several years ago. After watching the videos about the organization, the people it helped, its generous mission and altruism, I was moved to volunteer my time for it whenever I could. I am amazed at how much the volunteers who travel to India give of themselves to the incredibly neglected children they serve.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Generous of themselves and their time and talents.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

October 21, 2009

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October 21, 2009

I feel very fortunate to be working with this organization. ASTEP continues to contribute the heart and soul of art in regions of the world so starving for empowerment and creative solutions. As a Board Member I observe on a regular basis how wide the metaphoric net is cast for quality educators and artists wanting to contribute to a better world. Each day I leave the ASTEP office I find myself more optimistic and impassioned than I was when I arrived. The administration here does their absolute best to meet the needs of the children we serve as well as those of the volunteer artists we bring on board. I highly recommend anyone looking for an enriching experience to learn more about ASTEP.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the office where I work with the people who make it all happen. It never ceases to impress me how the people that run this machine can get so much accomplished and, yet, still find a way to laugh...often... I like that.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

observing how one individual's efforts make a noticeable difference. ASTEP is a small organization so there seems to be many ways one can make a tangible impact.

Ways to make it better...

more people knew about us. There is a great demand for arts programming and, thus far, the ASTEP team of volunteer artists is relatively small when compared to the demand.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 9, 2009

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October 9, 2009

I have worked as a volunteer with ASTEP helping to secure volunteers, funding, awareness and programs to help this new organization get established. I've attended benefit concerts and coordinated gift bags for donors plus coordinated materials to be sent to the orphanages and camps where they work. The vision of Mary Mitchell Campbell and her staff is extraordinary and must continue to be nurtured. I would love to see them with a stronger structure of checks and balances so that all efforts are coordinated seamlessly. In particular, I'd love to see them with a Marketing coordinator that will keep the public informed of events and opportunities to serve. They have done a marvelous job of securing volunteers to travel and work with the children, but I'm positive that with a person in place to be more pro-active and detailed in asking for donations, they will thrive and be able to do even more. I'm amazed at what they have accomplished.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The unique vision and how they mobilize volunteers to travel. Also, encouraging artists to give back to others.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Fun, committed, talented, energized.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Provide a new life for millions of young children.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 8, 2009

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October 8, 2009

ASTEP connected me with opportunities to use my personal skill sets in a way that helps others. I went to them with the talents I have to offer (performing, graphic design/layout,etc.) and they put me to work! They use their resources, both physical and fisical, very well. With a small core group they are always friendly, approachable, and easy to contact. They maintain a large and growing volunteer force and I look forward to seeing ASTEP's continued world wide impact, as well as my personal involvement in their efforts.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

generous, creative, motivated, and passionate. The kind of people I would CHOOSE but have been lucky enough to stumble upon.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 8, 2009

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October 8, 2009

This is a truly inspiring group of people to know. It is one thing to have great talent; but, to have that talent and combine it with the passion to share it and nurture it in others is completely different. To use that talent to help other towards the great gift of self expression and improve the human condition is of incalculatable value. I would someday like to find my way to giving in the capacity in which these people do. It again is very inspiring...

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

extraordinary, articulate, gifted in their humanity...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 8, 2009

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October 8, 2009

ASTEP, Artists Striving to End Poverty, and all of the individuals connected with the organization are some of the most dedicated and selfless people I have ever encountered. My experience as a volunteer for their summer program in Homestead was a pivotal moment in my life. From start to finish, the experience was incredibly positive and fulfilling for both the faculty and the students. ASTEP's contributions to humanity are remarkable, and I feel so blessed to have come in contact with this magnificent group of people.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The relationships formed with the students and faculty. Many of us were strangers, and we became a family within a week. Over a year later, I am still very close with many of the people that I spent a month with.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Motivated, original, compassionate, inspiring, and fun people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Change the world.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 8, 2009

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October 8, 2009

My experience is watching a great number of my friends create their organization and pour their heart and souls into working with these children. The volunteers of ASTEP are some of the most talented artists I know, yet they all put working with children first on their priority list, and their own careers second. That's love and dedication!

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Thrilling, dedicated, creative, hard working, thought provoking, constantly trying to think outside the box, loving, energetic...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

October 8, 2009

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October 8, 2009

My experience with ASTEP has changed who I am and what I live for. They are an extremely well organized group made up of passionate and driven artists that believe that arts education can stop the poverty cycle. And through my experience with them, I am now a believer of this concept too and will continue to dedicate much of my time to help it come true. I have absolutely no complaints.

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

pay their volunteers. I worry how much I will be able to work with them, especially in times where I cannot afford to take a month off of work.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 8, 2009

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October 8, 2009

These young people give 100% effort in making other peoples lives better. Great role models. I have seen thank you notes written by children that they touched. The group has done wonderfull projects. They were appreciated and welcomed, like a ray of sunshine in the lives of many children.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the level of the commitment and sincerity as these artists reach out to the most needy.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

the most compassionate group.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

touch thousands of children and have a global impact in changing lives.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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