What We Do


Step Up brings together an amazing group of people – teachers, students and volunteers. Thanks to them the Centre is a place where anyone can find support and self-belief. Here is what our colleagues, students and volunteers think about us.

One sunny Sunday morning, a group of students from Step Up were given the chance to get to grips with the art of photography.

The photography master class for Step Up was led by photographer and director Alexander Kott on Old Arbat. Having given some initial advice, Alexander divided students up into pairs and sent them to take each other’s portrait against a background of their choosing.

Howard Amosvolunteer

Step Up isn’t just a place where you learn, but also a home in which goodness, love, understanding, friendship and self-belief are born.

It is the steps upward that lighten our life and strengthen our confidence.

You just need not to be lazy and get on with it.

Polina Bykonyagraduate of Step Up

When I come to Step Up I do not feel as though I’m helping the Centre in some way, but, rather, that I am drawing some kind of strength from it.

Step Up is an amazing place where fantastic people study and teach. You know that you are needed here, and that nothing you do is in vain.

Dina Magnatvolunteer

Every charity should have its myth, an over-arching idea. Our organisation’s idea is that, in a perfect world, every child should strive to achieve their goals – and that goal is their quest. All of us here have a common quest: a journey with some kind of magical end point. Not just any old journey, but one that demands regeneration, a commitment to overcoming difficulties, and entailing change. All for an enchanted goal. Knowledge is not an end in itself; it is bewitching, and in searching for it people change in wonderful ways.

Mikhail Sverdlovhead of the Literature Club

The majority of the young people with whom we work have never had anyone take a sincere interest in what’s going on in their lives.

Step Up has become a place where people confide in each other knowing that there is real interest in their lives. I often say that I love my job because its most important aspect is chatting over tea.

Ekaterina KurdyukovaEnglish teacher at Step Up

“It’s true that Step Up is a place that helps graduates of correctional and psychoneurological institutions. But it’s also true that Step Up is something more than that: it is therapy through freedom, though not unlimited freedom. It is education, rather than just being handed things on a plate. It is a fervent, though not blind, belief in every individual”.

Anna Ulyanovapsychologist

We need to talk about culture otherwise our lives are poorer. If we manage to strike up such a cultural conversation, which is not easy, then it’s a success for everyone… …

Culture doesn’t come to everyone, isn’t needed by everyone, not everyone has the ability to appreciate culture. But you need to give people the chance to speak about it, because most institutions don’t give people that chance……

Mikhail Sverdlovhead of the Literature Club

While studying at Step Up, I always enjoy attending Literature Club.

Why do I go?? Well, because it helps me develop, I learn new words and begin to understand the great works of world literature!!

Because I want to be an actor!! It’s important for me. And it’s also interesting to come to such meetings.

Sergei BorisovStep Up student

After Summer Camp…

And at some point you realize that it has changed you permanently. These changes may not be immediately obvious. It may take time. But it is a point of no return. The world around you expands, becomes more profound, more interesting, more complicated, sometimes more frightening.

When you work with the children you try to give them as much of what you can share as possible – your attention, your high spirits, your joy, your care. And they repay you with a priceless gift: they make you better, kinder, more attentive to the world around you. They change you on the inside.

Alina GolubevaSummer Camp volunteer

At Step Up you can always get involved and receive a ton of positive feedback and treasured memories – that’s why people want to return here. Sooner or later almost everyone who ends up at Step Up brings along his or her colleagues, friends or relatives. I have always thought that this speaks volumes.

Darya Alekseevavolunteer