The S.O. What! Foundation

The S.O. What! Foundation is the nonprofit arm of S.O. What! Which I created in 2012 with the goal of helping youth in my community overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential. Through community partnerships, we empower at-risk youth with our S.T.E.P. – O.U.T. (Self-esteem, Teamwork, Exposure, Personal development – Overcome, Understand, Triumph)  program, unique literacy and life skills curriculum, ongoing mentorship, and more.

As someone who faced a lot of challenges growing up, including teenage pregnancy, I understand firsthand the struggles that many young people face. I started the S.O. What! Foundation to create a support system and unique opportunities for youth who may not have the resources or guidance they need to succeed. We believe that with the right support and resources, every young person can learn to say “S.O. What!” to overcome their obstacles to succeed, and we’re committed to helping them reach their full potential

S.O. What! Foundation Programs

The S.T.E.P.-O.U.T. program

The S.O. What! Foundation’s STEP OUT program helps youth STEP OUT of their comfort zones, STEP OUT of their challenging situations, and STEP OUT of their own way to live their best lives. The program provides opportunities and experiences to equip youth with tools and life skills to prepare them to overcome obstacles, eliminate excuses, and achieve success regardless of the challenges they face.

The S.O. What! Foundation provides 5th-12th grade youth the opportunity to participate in programming that focuses on helping them to deal with trauma, overcome obstacles, meet their goals, and achieve their dreams.

The foundation of the S.T.E.P.-O.U.T. program is the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum and workbooks. Thousands of youth have become stronger readers and learned to say, “SO WHAT!” to their challenges and pursue their dreams despite their obstacles, trauma, and any adversity they face through this unique, trauma-informed curriculum that combines academics and social and emotional learning.

Through school and community collaborations, we offer the S.T.E.P.-O.U.T. Program which includes:

  • The S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education Curriculum
  • The Summer Experience summer camp
  • Regular workshops
  • The Washington, DC Exposure trip
  • The S.O. What! Awards and Scholarship Soiree
  • On-going mentoring

S.O. What! Foundation Scholarships

The S.O. What! Foundation provides scholarships in three categories.

● The S.O. What! Foundation S.O. What! Success Scholarships

Awarded to graduating students pursuing post-secondary educational opportunities who complete the S.O. What! Foundation’s S.T.E.P.-O.U.T. (Self-esteem, Teamwork, Exposure, Personal development – Overcome, Understand, Triumph) program.

●  Bertha Rogers Looney & Summer Owens S.O. What! Success Endowed Scholarship

Awarded to students with identified challenges pursuing a degree at the University of Memphis. This scholarship was created to honor the special relationship between Bertha Rogers Looney of the legendary Memphis State Eight and the S.O. What! Foundation’s founder, Summer Owens, and highlights their different yet connected resilience journeys at the University of Memphis.

● Curtis Owens Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to students pursuing certification in trades or vocational education. This scholarship was created in honor of the founder’s cousin, Curtis Owens, who was on a path to pursuing a career as an aircraft mechanic when he tragically lost his life in a car accident at the age of 19.

For more information or to make a donation, visit

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