The mission of Step-Up, Incorporated is to provide comprehensive care and resources for wellness with dignity and inclusivity. In our daily activities, we strive to help people generate personal wellness through getting tested, accessing and adhering to medications, having safe housing, adequate nutrition, and sound mental health. These efforts are in vain, however, if a person cannot feel safe in their own body. It is a tragic fact for too many that this safety is particularly compromised by the color of their skin. The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and David McAtee are tragically only the latest in a systematic pattern of racial violence stretching back throughout our nation’s history. Sunday, May 31st, marked the 99th anniversary of the massacre of people living in a thriving Black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma known as “Black Wall Street.” Our beloved city of Indianapolis has shameful chapters in its own history wherein Black people and other racial and ethnic groups faced both overt violence and death as well as the more covert violence of discrimination in employment, housing, and other vital ways. The persistence of systems and structures which seek to oppress Black people and other groups has led to the ongoing violence and strife we see today and stand in direct opposition to the core of our mission at Step-Up.
We feel it is fundamentally necessary, therefore, that we commit ourselves to solidarity with those who oppose this ongoing violence and with communities who continue to be victimized by these systems of oppression. We are working to seek out ways to improve our ability to support our clients, neighbors, and community partners who most need it and to ensure they feel seen, heard, and believed. We are also committed to advocating for concrete, measurable changes in local, state, and federal policies which will end these systems of oppression. And we stand ready to serve as a refuge of safety and support for any member of our community who is marginalized, discriminated against, or experiences oppression. It is in these most difficult moments that we must remain most firmly resolved that We Step-Up Together.
Step-Up, Inc. is 501(c3) non-profit agency that opened our doors on January 1, 2003
Step-Up was founded on the principle of identifying gaps in HIV/STD prevention with a focus on under served, hard to reach populations.
Over time, Step-Up has expanded its services to include Care Coordination and Ryan White services for persons living with HIV. In addition, Step-Up has established one of Indiana’s most successful re-entry programs for men leaving incarceration in Central Indiana. We are committed to providing quality, client centered services, with a focus on confidentiality and integrity.
In 2011 Step-Up’s staff and Board of Directors refined our mission and committed ourselves to expanding our services to better serve the whole person. In addition to our prevention, testing and case management programs, Step-Up is committed to providing essential wrap-around services to the populations we serve.
When an individual tests positive for HIV, getting them into care is a top priority. But issues such as food, housing, transportation, utilities and other forms of assistance are also essential to the long term health outcomes of persons living with HIV. This is why we have expanded our mission and our services to include case management, care coordination, an onsite medical clinic and a myriad of referral services.
Additionally, as we began to serve more incarcerated individuals it became increasingly clear that most were unable to focus on their health, when they had such serious immediate needs. It is impossible for an individual to be concerned about contracting HIV when he is not safely housed or has the ability to provide adequate food for himself or his family. Without assistance and skills building he is also more likely to return to the actions that resulted in incarceration.
In 2014, Step-Up entered into a partnership with Eskenazi Health to open an onsite clinic at Step-Up. The clinic provides health care services for individuals newly diagnosed with HIV and/or HIV positive persons who have been out of care.
Step-Up has evolved from simply providing prevention education to offering a wide range of wrap around services that our clients so clearly need to be healthy and whole.
We provide comprehensive care and resources for wellness with dignity and inclusivity.
To help the people we serve stabilize and thrive in their community.
Administration & Quality Management
Todd Lare | Executive Director
Todd is a lifelong Hoosier who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary Social Studies education and Master of Science degree in Community Economic Development. He is also certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). Todd's professional background includes serving in senior leadership at CareSource, as CEO/Executive Director of South Central Community Action Program, and as a member of the local United Way/FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Board, the Region 8 Workforce Development Board, and the Indiana Community Action Association Board of Directors. He also served as Public Policy Chair of the Community Action Association Board for 3 years and as the President of that board for 2 years.
Hannah Kistler | Director of Client Services
Hannah started her tenure at Step Up in 2012 as an ISDH Care Coordinator, and transitioned to her current position mid-2016. Hannah has a Bachelor of Social Work from Anderson University and a Master of Social Work from Indiana University. Hannah is excited about her role and brings several years of experience in the HIV field. In her free time, Hannah enjoys playing in a women’s soccer league and networking at the Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce.
John Cocco | Director of Re-Entry Services
John P. Cocco, MSW LCSW has worked in mental health and substance use disorders since 2007. He originally joined Step Up in 2011 as the case manager for the re-entry services program. He received his Master of Social Work in 2014, specializing in mental health and substance use disorders. He left Step Up in that same year to begin his doctoral education in social work. He completed his coursework and returned to Step Up in 2017. He is an active member of the Marion County Reentry Coalition, is a CSWE fellow, and sits on the Board of Directors for the National Organization of Forensic Social Work.
Bodashus Dawson | Director of Outreach & Prevention
Bodashus (Bo) has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Indiana State University. Bo's professional background includes working as a Disease Intervention Specialist and Special Projects Outreach Coordinator at Bell Flower Clinic for 8 years and serving as the Executive Director of Agape Alliance for 4 years. Bo brings several years of experience in working with the Indianapolis community. In his free time, Bo enjoys working out, spending time with his wife, two sons, and their dog.
Dennis Wilkinson | Director of Finance
Dennis has been volunteering with Step-Up since 2005. He has his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Indiana State University. His background includes Internal Audit, Loss Prevention and Finance. In May 2017, he married his partner at Greg’s Indy/Our Place bar, which is where they met 20 years ago. They both enjoy hanging out with friends, traveling and doing home improvement projects. He is originally from Terre Haute and is one of 6 brothers and 2 sisters. Dennis is excited to be a part of the Step-Up Team.
Mara White | Quality Manager
Mara is a graduate from Indiana State University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Mara has extensive experience working in the criminal justice system and re-entry services. In her free time, Mara enjoys hiking, kayaking, donating blood, and spending time with her family and pets.
Jake Dean | Care Coordinator
Jake currently works as an HIV/AIDS Care Coordinator with Step-Up, Inc. Prior to working at Step-Up, he was a BSW intern at Meridian Health Services HIV Care Coordination in Muncie, IN and a volunteer with Muncie Outreach. Jake graduated with his BSW from Ball State University. He lives in the Indianapolis area with his husband and their pets. Jake enjoys spending his free time hiking, visiting state parks, playing board games, and watching Food Network shows.
Emily Grese | Non-Medical Case Manager
Emily graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelors in Social Work in 2017, and is a candidate for a Masters in Social Work for 2018. She joined Step Up as in intern in February 2017. In December of 2017, Emily began working for Step Up as a Non-Medical Case Manager. In her free time, Emily enjoys playing with her dogs, baking, knitting.
Ana Cooper | Care Coordinator
Ana attends Marian University and is majoring in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Social Work. Ana has previously worked in family services helping a diverse population of families. Ana is excited to also support the Latino community in Indianapolis as she is fluent in Spanish and English. Ana enjoys watching Disney films, cooking with her husband, and spending time with family in her free time. Ana is very excited to be a part of the Step-Up team.
Abby Riwitis | Non-Medical Case Manager
Abby recently began working with Step Up, Inc. as a non-medical case manager. Though she is new to the field, she is familiar with the work seeing as her family has worked in this field for many years. Before joining the Step Up team, Abby was a cosmetologist and receptionist and has always loved working with the public. She is very excited to start this new journey with reaching out to the community. In her free time, Abby likes to spend time with her family, wife, their police K9 and two cats.
Kaitlin Reed | Non-Medical Case Manager
Kaitlin has been with Step Up Inc. since January ’18. She was an AmeriCorps affiliate through FEMA providing services through the National Disaster Relief from destruction and peril caused by Hurricane Mathew. After her service through AmeriCorps, Kaitlin started at Step Up Inc. as an intern. Her skill set and work experience allowed her to become a full-time case manager in April ’18. She has been a Housing Case Manager and is currently a Care Coordinator. Kaitlin is finishing her bachelor’s in social work from IUPUI. She eventually wants to work with children in foster care. Kaitlin’s interests include sports, photography, and spending time with loved ones.
Madison Schaefer | Non-Medical Case Manager
Madison is a Non-Medical Case Manager with Step-Up Inc. since February of 2019. She has a Bachelor’s in Social Work and Sociology from Indiana University. Madison enjoys spending time with her pets and loved ones. Her hobbies include traveling, embroidering, horticulture, and volunteering with the community.”
Robin Hunter | Non-Medical Case Manager
Robin has been a Non-Medical Case Manager since March of 2018. Before working at Step Up Inc., she studied computer engineering at IUPUI and has had years of experience in customer service and IT. Robin is passionate about technology and interactive media. She combines her passion with her employment to improve quality assurance and efficiency at the agency. Robin’s interests include video games, films, music, and spending time with loved ones.
Outreach, Prevention & Testing Services
Michael Robinson | Testing Manager
Michael has several years of experience in the customer service field and is great at creating a safe and comfortable space for someone to obtain testing services. He has been certified by both Red Cross and Indiana State Department of Health as a HIV/AIDS instructor, counselor, tester. Michael has been with Step-Up since 2013.
Eric Pfleider | Outreach & Testing Coordinator
Eric started at Step Up in 2019. He attended Butler University where he earned an associate’s degree in Telecommunications and was the founding editor-in-chief of their online newspaper. Having been a hair stylist and hair color educator in Chicago, Eric’s passion for educating and helping people has led him to a career in STD/HIV prevention and testing. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time cooking, going to concerts and keeping up with pop culture.
Sylvia Thomas | Education & Outreach Coordinator
Sylvia Thomas has been at Step Up since May 2018. She graduated with her Bachelors Degree in U.S. History in 2018. In her career, while working with people living with HIV/AIDS, Sylvia has also had experience in working in grassroots movements and in international diplomacy for Transgender Rights, Racial Justice, and Sex Work populations. While not working, she enjoys travelling, performing spoken word, and visiting local LGBTQIA+ establishments.
Sam Clark | Outreach & Testing Coordinator
Sam started with Step-Up in March 2020. He studied International Studies, with a concentration in Human Rights and Social Movements, and Arabic, with a minor in Folklore and Ethnomusicology, at Indiana University Bloomington. Sam previously worked in the Indy Tech scene, but his passion for people and building interpersonal relationships has led him to serve his community with the Step-Up team. In his downtime, this cinephile and cat dad loves to travel with his friends, try new foods, and explore new places.
J. Johnson | Peer Re-Entry Specialist
J. Johnson serves as a Peer Re-Entry Specialist with Thresholds and Transitions. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y, Mr. Johnson is a combat veteran of the U.S. Army. During his military career he traveled extensively both domestically and abroad, residing in Europe for ten years. During his career he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from the University of Maryland. After his civilian career which included over twenty years of both corporate and entrepreneurial experience, Mr. Johnson now focuses his energies on social service as exemplified through his personal motto “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
Jason Jones | TANF Program Manager
Jason Jones, MSW LCSW is the TANF Program director and therapist for Step Up’s re-entry services. Jason earned his bachelor’s degree in criminology from Ball State University. He has worked at the Indiana Department of Correction and the Indiana Department of Child Services since 2007. Jason completed his Master of Social Work degree in 2014 from Indiana University and joined Step Up in 2017. Jason has experience in mental health and addictions treatment having worked in the mental health unit at Pendleton Correctional Facility. Jason lives in Indianapolis and enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling.
Abigail Abram, MPH | INPEP ECHO Project Coordinator
After graduating from the University of Dayton in 2015, Abby completed the AIDS United AmeriCorps program as an HIV Tester and Counselor at Eskenazi Health. Abby is currently earning her Master of Public Health from the University of Indianapolis and was previously a non-medical case manager at Step Up. In her free time, Abby likes to cheer for the Colts and hang out with her niece and nephew.
Board of Directors
Richard Farmer, Chase Bank
Rev. Judith Carson, The Church Within
Dr. Brian Dodge, Indiana University
Lori Phillips-Steele, Corporation for Supportive Housing
Karen Simms, Meridian K Consulting
Dr. Brian Dodge, Indiana University Researcher
John Randolph, Campaign Manager at Indianapolis Museum of Art
Funding for Step-Up programs and services are provided by:
Marion County Public Health Department, Ryan White Services
Christel DeHaan Family Foundation
Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF Affiliate
Indy Bag Ladies
Generous support of Step-Up’s Board of Directors
Also, a special thanks to the Friends of Step-Up that have participated in packet parties, fundraisers and those who have generously supported our programs through donations, etc.
HIV PREVENTION SERVICES
The primary goal of this program is to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV. Step-Up addresses both prevention for HIV negative individuals as well as prevention for people living with HIV. Components of the program include:
Targeted HIV testing in bars, bathhouses, recently incarcerated individuals. Testing is also done at Step-Up’s office by appointment and at selected community events. Step-Up testers use rapid testing, which provides results while the client waits. Please check Step-Up’s calendar for testing times and locations.
Why you should get tested
To know your status!
One minute HIV test results!
Where you can get tested:
FREE ONE MINUTE HIV TESTING and STD SCREENING is available at the following times and locations. Please call the Step-Up Office if you need any additional information.
Individual appointments can also be made by calling our Step-Up office at 317-259-7013 x 19 or click on the picture below.
Engage outreach programming is centered around HIV and STD prevention by conducting one-on-one and group discussions with our key populations in non-traditional settings. Engage programming works to improve overall population health outcomes by meeting our key populations in the community where they are most comfortable. Showing people that we care about them in their spaces reduces health disparities. Look for our yellow buckets in various location in the community.
Step-Up to Gregs Bingo Night is held every Tuesday night at Gregs. HIV/STD information is provided and health alerts are announced during the game. Please check our calendar for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Real Time educational programming is centered around HIV/STD prevention focusing on our key priority populations through education modules, engagement on social media platforms, telehealth, digital communication technologies, our website, online curated modules and in-person formal education. For more information or contact email@example.com
Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the latest option in our prevention toolbox. Individuals at high risk for HIV transmission may choose to access the prescription drug Truvada or Descovy. When taken daily, Truvada and Descovy have shown to be highly effective to prevent HIV. Step-Up outreach and testing staff are happy to provide additional information and referrals to local PrEP clinics.
Community Action Groups (CAG)
The CAG network consists of 18 grassroots organizations located throughout Indiana. Each of these organizations provides services in their counties as well as surrounding counties. Some serve as many as 14-16 counties in their region. The CAGs have been on the front lines of HIV and Hepatitis C since the beginning of the HIV epidemic. Step-Up provides technical assistance and oversite of the program.
Please contact if you are interested in learning more about the services we can provide.
HIV CARE SERVICES
HIV Case Management Program
Care Coordination is a specialized form of HIV case management and the foundation upon which all HIV/AIDS services are built. Case management services are available statewide at regional sites. Care Coordination provides an individualized plan of care that includes medical, psychosocial, financial, and other supportive services, as needed. Care Coordination services are FREE of charge.
The primary goals of the programs are to ensure the continuity of care, to promote self-sufficiency, and to enhance the quality of life for individuals living with HIV. These customizable case management services are available free of charge to all people living with HIV.
The Care Coordinators are trained professionals that can provide assistance in the following specific areas:
Access to medical care, health insurance, and medications
Access to HIV-related programs, such as Ryan White Programs, housing assistance (HOPWA), and direct emergency financial assistance (DEFA)
Access to mental health and substance abuse programs
Referrals for optical and dental care
Referrals to community and government programs, such as Medicaid and Social Security
Referrals to transportation assistance
Referrals to nutrition assistance
HIV testing and prevention counseling
Support group referrals
Ryan White Non-Medical and Medical Case Management
Non-Medical Case Management Services concentrates on the provision of advice and assistance in obtaining medical, social, community, legal, financial, and other needed services. Case managers providers help with transportation, provide emotional support, education on health related matters, and other needed resources that enable the client to initiate and maintain safer behaviors. Case managers are providers who act as advocates for these above services.
Medical Case Management is provided for clients who need assistance with medication adherence, achieving viral suppression and someone to serve as a liaison to the client's medical provider. Clients must have a referral from their care coordinator or non-medical case manager.
Mental Health Counseling
Clients who are Ryan White eligible will have access to mental health counseling on site at Step-Up’s office. Clients must have a referral from their care coordinator or Ryan White case manager to set up an appointment. If prescription medication is required, the client will be referred to our consulting psychiatrist for further evaluation and treatment.
Please contact Step-Up at 317-259-7013 if you are interested in learning more about the services we can provide.
Onsite Clinic at Step-Up
In 2019, Step-Up entered into a partnership with Community Health to open an onsite clinic at Step-Up. The clinic provides health care services for individuals newly diagnosed with HIV and/or HIV positive persons who have been out of care. The clinic provides a full range of care services through Community Health allowing for a seamless continuum of care.
Re-entry services at Step-Up exist to improve the overall health and well-being of those who have criminal justice involvements. This is achieved through providing case management, mental health care and substance use disorder counseling, other wrap-around services, and ongoing support.
Indiana Peer Education Program (INPEP) is comprised of staff from Step-Up, Inc., the Indiana State Department of Health, and the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. INPEP aims to reduce risk behaviors and disease transmission among incarcerated populations.
INPEP is a peer-led model that is composed of three main components:
1) The INPEP team identifies and trains cohorts of peer educators within various correctional facilities using an intensive 40-hour course.
2) Peer educators host regular health education workshops inside the correctional facility for their peers who are incarcerated.
3) The INPEP team maintains on-going training and support of peer educators through monthly face-to-face site visits and collaborative teleECHO videoconferencing clinics.
Community Based Support Programs
This program focuses on reducing recidivism among adults in Marion Countyand surrounding counties by providing individualized client-centered, needs based wrap-around services such as:
Mental health and substance use disorder counseling
Case management services
Pro-social skill development
Referrals to emergency financial assistance
Referrals to legal services
Referrals to housing
Employment skills development
No Entry is a collaboration between Step-Up and the staff of Zealous Minds which aims to proactively prevent incarceration. The population of focus are students who have been identified by Indianapolis Public Schools staff as “at risk,” meaning they are significantly more likely to drop out of school and subsequently engage in violence and/or other criminal activity. The long-term goal of the program is to ensure students can graduate and have a plan for after graduation, be that college, vocational training, or another plan for sustainable employment. Additionally, the No-Entry program offers:
Teaching and Tutoring – Program staff include a licensed teacher and certified tutor who provide individualized education plans for every student.
School Advocate Service – Personal counselor serves as a liaison between the school administration, guidance counselors, teachers, parents, and students.
Case Management – This service is focused upon reducing the unique social barriers inherent in economically disadvantaged students. These barriers often include tangible needs like basic hygiene items, weather appropriate clothing, and access to the internet or other necessary technology.
Mobile learning labs – The program is predicated upon the idea of flexibility. As such, staff work outside of traditional hours and utilize technology in order to meet learners’ needs when most convenient to their schedules.
Re-Entry services are available to those with pre-trial supervision or formerly convicted of a misdemeanor or felony.
In order to access re-entry services with Step-Up,
A referral must be submitted by a criminal justice agency (i.e. probation, parole, community corrections)
Have successfully completed Phases 1 and 2 of the Healthy @ Re-entry program
Be an INPEP Peer Educator
Help Support Step-Up! Donate Now!
The demand for our services continues to increase. You can make a difference in the lives of these individuals.
For a tax deductible charitable contribution to Step-Up please click the link to donate via PayPal:
You can also download our donation form and send a check payable to:
4755 Kingsway Dr. Suite 105,
Indianapolis, IN 46205
If you would like your donation to go towards a specific program, please indicate that on the donation form.
What Your Donation Means to Step-Up’s Clients:
Your $20 donation will help Step-Up administer HIV/STD testing to one at risk individual
Your $50 donation will help transport a client to job interviews, doctor appointments, and more
Your $100 donation will help feed a family for one week
Your $200 donation will help keep utilities from being turned off for one month
Your $500 donation will keep a client/family housed for one month
Your $1,000 donation will help provide Case Management Services to help 50 clients/families access health care services, stabilize housing and provide job placement services
Your $5,000 and above donation makes you an honorary Board Member!!!
We love our volunteers! For volunteer opportunities please call 317-259-7013.
Step-Up, Inc. is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization under the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service. All contributions to Step-Up Inc. are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. Step-Up will mail you a donation receipt for tax purposes.
4755 Kingsway Dr, Suite 105
Indianapolis, IN 46205
Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Careers with Step-Up
Please contact us if you are interested in other career opportunities with Step-Up:
Step-Up believes in diversity and recognizes the value of inclusiveness by encouraging the full participation of all individuals in fulfilling its mission. Step-Up believes in and practices equal opportunity in its operations, community involvement and decision-making and encourages inclusion of diverse members of the community. It is the policy of Step-Up to provide equal opportunities for employment and advancement for all individuals and shall not discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, creed, religion, age, physical or mental ability, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation or nationality in the conduct of its affairs.