Success Starts with Hope and Strength


Earlena’s Story:

"I was determined to turn my life around, but I was homeless and struggling with depression and severe anxiety. I was around six months pregnant, when I was referred to Step By Step."

I started my freshman year just like every other freshman - scared and lost. But, I quickly figured things out. I loved my classes and made friends pretty easily.  My favorite class was band. I loved playing my flute. I thought I had a great group of friends.

Turned out I was wrong.  I was raped at 15 by a peer. My Sophomore year was a living nightmare. The guy continued to sexually harass me. My grades plummeted, I started self-harming, and I became suicidal.

I ended up switching schools twice, ending up at an alternative High School named New Pathways. I fought to get caught up, but it was hard and things at home were not going well. When I turned 18, I had to leave home. I dropped out and started hanging around a bad crowd.  I started drinking heavily and, on February 28th, I found out I was pregnant. 

I was determined to turn my life around, but I was homeless and struggling with depression and severe anxiety. I was around six months pregnant, when I was referred to Step By Step.

I began meeting with my case manager, Linsey. But, things quickly took a turn for the worse. My daughter’s father began abusing me, and I was terrified.  I was about to be homeless again, and I was supposed to be on bed rest, because my daughter kept trying to come early. At eight and a half months pregnant, I was able to move into the Step By Step housing program.

I made it to full term and had a healthy baby girl. After the birth of my daughter, Meridee and Robyn, my housing case managers, encouraged me to go back to school. When my baby turned eight weeks old, I found daycare for her, and I enrolled at the Oakland Alternate High School to get my diploma.

I was struggling with some severe health problems. I also had to go through a court process to get a restraining order against my daughter’s father. I missed a lot of school and honestly, at times, I thought I’d never make it.

But, I took things step by step. I had safe and stable housing. My case managers referred me to Young Life, where I attended mommy and me camps. They helped facilitate a parenting plan through the court system, and I was able to gain full custody of my daughter. They helped get me enrolled in parenting classes through the Health Department. I also attended all the life skills classes with Step By Step, on everything from budgeting, personal hygiene, maintaining an apartment, cleaning, food prep, and organizing.

 Step By Step helped me mature emotionally. The housing was vital to my success. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today, I’d probably be out there doing something stupid. Meridee, Robyn, and Linsey helped me become the person I am today. I am so thankful for Linsey’s help during my pregnancy. She was extremely supportive. Meridee really helped me keep motivated with my goals.

Here it is June of 2016. As I write this, it is seven days before I will be walking across the stage to get my High School diploma.  Seven pretty torture filled years of High School, but I made it.

I am starting a paid internship program this summer. In the future, I want to attend Clover Park Technical College, and my dream is to one day run my own daycare.

I hope my story is an inspiration to others, especially young moms who might be in a similar situation that I was. There are people out there who care. It does get better, and you can do it!


You can help bring hope to other moms, like Earlena, and help give every baby a healthy start in life. 



Every Day is Mother's Day

Thank you for joining us for our Mother’s Day weekend event to celebrate moms and their enduring legacy in our families and communities.

Thank you for joining us for our Mother’s Day weekend event to celebrate moms and their enduring legacy in our families and communities.

We would like to thank our amazing volunteer team, who made this event beautiful and fun!

We re-opened the former Van Lierop Farm site to the public, once again, to host our second annual Mother’s Day celebration event. 

Bette Anne Curry and The Gourmet Niche provided wonderful food and beverages. The Daffodil Princesses hosted the Create-Your-Own Flower Bouquet station. 

The event featured greeting cards, fresh flower arrangements, beautiful moss baskets from our friends from the Edgewood Flower Farm, and unique handcrafted Mother’s Day gifts, many of which were locally made by our Step By Step moms. 

Proceeds went to support Step By Step’s programs. And, all the profit from the products our moms created and contributed went directly back to them to help them support their families.

It was a beautiful day. We hope you enjoyed it, and we hope to see you next year!

Don't Miss These Upcoming Events:



18th Annual Absher Kids’ Cup Charity Golf Tournament

Hosted by Apple Physical Therapy Foundation & Absher Construction Company

18 Hole Scramble; Prizes & Giveaways; Dinner & Awards
>> High Cedars GolfCourse in Orting, WA



"Little Steps, Big Dreams" 5k Walk/Run

Proceeds go to support Step By Step & the Puyallup Food Bank

5k Fundraiser | Prizes | Kids’ Activities and More!
>> FoothillsTrail & former Van Lierop Farm site


Meet Our Volunteer Champions of the Month


April- Starbucks Corporate

Step By Step had the pleasure of hosting 8 wonderful employees from Starbucks Corporate in Seattle out at the farm for a work day. They did everything from scrubbing toilets to washing windows, lots and lots of sweeping, and “weeding for days”! We are so thankful to Starbucks for lending us their super awesome team to help spruce things up around here, as we prep for our upcoming Mother’s Day weekend event. Special thanks to Trisha Dintelman for organizing the group and making it happen. Thank you Starbucks corporate!


May- Puyallup South Hill Rotary

We had an abundance of tulips and other flowers that needed to be cared for and wrapped into bouquets, in preparation for our 2nd annual Mother’s Day event.  Thank you to Cyndi Anderson who helped organize a volunteer sign-up for the Puyallup Rotarians. We had plenty of hands on deck to help. They were even kind enough to help us out with some of the weeding around the farm, to help make the place look great for our event. Thank you so much Puyallup Rotary for coming out to the Farm and helping us get ready.  We appreciate you!


June- Heather Volkers

Heather serves in an official capacity on Step By Step’s Housing Board, but she has been generously volunteering her time and expertise for over 10 years. She is a lead committee member and heads up the registration and checkout team for our annual fundraising dinner and auction. She has volunteered at our Mother’s Day events and at our annual 5k Walk/Run as both a volunteer and a Team Captain for the awesome Stepping Stars team. She leads and trains volunteers, assists with countless admin projects, and she recently helped organize and run our Summer Family Picnic and Free Yard Sale for our moms. She is always jumping in to help, and we literally do not know what we would do without her. Heather, you are amazing!


Interested in joining our Volunteer Team? 
Call us at (253) 896 - 0903
or e-mail Annmarie at