The purpose of Level-Up is to provide a constant and stable environment for youth in foster care. The program offers a nurturing curriculum that includes an employment and career-shadowing component, youth-focused workshop series, year-round mentoring and involvement in other Urban League youth initiatives.
For more than 10 years, Level-Up has been funded by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. The program is geared towards students ages 14-21 who are in foster care and 14-19 for students who receive DSS services (Medicaid, TANF, or SNAP) benefits or considered at risk. Level-Up utilizes an evidence based best practice strategy for working with youth in foster care that focuses on several critical needs areas of its participants.
The Level-Up program serves more than 350 disadvantaged and foster care youth in 11 different counties including: Aiken, Florence, Greenville Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Richland, Spartanburg, Sumter, and York counties.
The Columbia Urban League’s Level-Up program has been recognized by the National Urban League as an evidence based best practice model for youth development, because of its leadership in the foster care arena.
The Level-Up staff conduct workshops and presentations for school district and local organizations.
Through CUL’s Level-Up partnership with the Department of Social Services, participants have the opportunity to gain work experience every summer.