“All my life, I’ve only been able to think of the next moment and how to survive it. I’ve never had the luxury of thinking about a better future. No one has ever asked me about my dreams, much less given me the hope that they could support me on a journey to pursuing them.”
~ A Step By Step Client
Our motto at Step By Step this year is “Dreams Work When We Do.” Starting Step By Step was, at one time, a dream of my own that has turned into a 20-year reality. Buying a farm became a dream that turned into a reality, at the end of 2015. A $5.5M remodel on that farm is a dream we are still working on, but it is quickly becoming a reality, thanks to many of you. Ask any of my staff or my board members, and they will tell you I am a dreamer! But, I strongly believe that dreams can become a reality, through lots and lots of hard work.
Twenty years of leading Step By Step has taught me that the freedom to dream is a luxury; it’s a privilege that not everyone gets. Finding someone to help you realize those dreams can be even more difficult.
In September, I asked our Pierce and lower King county professional teams to choose 18 women, from their client lists, who they believed would be able to speak into and potentially become a part of our future program, at the farm. I told them I wanted their insight and ideas.
All this work we’ve done, all the money we’ve raised has been for them and for their children. Their testimonies will be invaluable, as we finalize the planning and structuring for this program.
I cannot describe to you how nervous I was, before our first meeting on October 7th. Twenty years of experience, six years of work on this project, and millions of dollars raised, came down to one night, in my mind.
What if they didn’t show up? What if they didn’t like the program? What if they weren’t willing to participate?
But, they came. All eighteen of them. They got themselves and all of their children to the event, and every single one of them showed up on time, with the exception of one mom who couldn’t get off work early.
I greeted them at the door. They seemed skeptical and didn’t fully understand why they were coming (they trusted their case managers). We had dinner ready, childcare provided, and an ice-breaker game, as none of them knew each other. Within minutes, they were eating and completely immersed in the game. Then, we gathered in a circle of couches, chairs, and pillows. I introduced myself and started to explain the purpose of the evening.
I found myself getting choked up, as I looked around the room. They are my dream, and they didn’t even know it. And, here they were, sitting with me. I have spent too many hours lately in meetings with funders, bankers, architects, and staring at an endless list of administrative responsibilities. Sitting in a meeting with these women and mothers, I was overwhelmed with emotion and the reminder that this is what matters. This makes all of the work worth it.
I think they were taken aback, when they realized how much it meant to me, and how grateful I was that they came. For nearly two hours, we laughed, we cried, we shared, and we created a space to dream.
Despite the brokenness of many of their lives, they spoke about their dreams. They spoke about getting a master’s degree in Business, becoming a lawyer, getting out of an abusive relationship. One mom said her dream is to open a restaurant that benefits women recovering from domestic violence, so they will not feel pressured to return, due to financial stress.
They talked about growing vegetables, working in an orphanage, mending broken family relationships, getting married, working to become an event coordinator, spending more time with their children who are not in their custody, sending their kids to college, and forgiving people who have hurt them.
The evening ended with a group picture, a lot of hugs, and my promise that I would bring all of us together again, soon.
Our vision for the women we work with is for them to see hope for their future. This night was confirmation that this vision is coming to life.
Now, we are going to work to help them take the next step needed to start turning their dreams into reality. We are going to do this, because it matters, because they matter, because their children matter, and because everyone should have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams.
Years ago, I was asked if I could only have one wish, what would it be? My wish was that every baby would feel safe in the arms of their mother. That is still my wish, and it is at the heart of what we do.
Fortunately, in life, we get lots of wishes! My wish is not only that babies would be safe and raised in loving homes, but also that their mothers would feel valuable and recognize their tremendous contribution to their families and to society as a whole. My wish is that they would see hope for their future, build on their unique strengths, dream big, and work hard to take the steps it takes to make those dreams a reality.
My wish is that Step By Step never stops dreaming big and that we never cease working to help empower women and encourage families to choose health, hope, and a brighter future.
- Krista Linden, Founder & Executive Director
A huge thank you to Lululemon-Southcenter, and their “Here To Be” community outreach program. They paid for the evening, taught about goal setting, and treated all of our moms to some Lulu gear!
Little Steps, Big Dreams 7th Annual Fundraising 5K
We are excited to announce that we exceeded our fundraising goal of $40,000 at the 7th annual “Little Steps Big Dreams” 5K event, and we had a record turnout of nearly 300 people!
We were greatly honored to have Vie Athletics as our Presenting Sponsor this year! Many Vie sisters showed up to show their support and add an extra little dose of friendly competition!
Our day wouldn’t have been complete without the presence of our friends and faithful supporters. Roy from Roy L Sounds provided music and our A/V needs. Jim from Evidence Photography and Design took photos for us! Also, a huge thank you to our fabulous and fun emcee, Alysanne, who was back on the mic for the second year in a row.
Thank you also to BuDu Racing for generously donating our start and finish line, as well as a race clock and timing system for our runners!
Also, one of the highlights at our event was a beautiful fall photo station, donated by our friends at Scholz Farm. They provided all of the colorful pumpkins, gourds, and corn stalks that created a fun backdrop for photos with friends!
Again, thank you to all the donors, sponsors, volunteers, and teams who made this event possible! We hope to see you all again next year!
VAN LIEROP BULB FARM TO BEGIN NEW LEGACY
We are optimistic that Step By Step will break ground at the former Van Lierop Bulb Farm site, in the next few months. We are working to rehabilitate the site into a multi-purpose center that will offer education and job training facilities for the women we serve, as well as wedding and event space, and restaurant and catering services for local residents.
Initial conversations for the center began over six years ago, when we identified a need to better support the women with young children we serve, in their efforts to obtain gainful employment.
Our goal for the center goes beyond just teaching basic employment skills. We want to build strong families. We are going to help the women we serve to not just become skilled and reliable professionals, but also to realize their value as mothers, to recognize their unique strengths, and to see hope for their future. We are going to help them dream, and then we are going to help them put those dreams to work.
Our primary goal has always been to help women have a healthy pregnancy, embrace positive parenting, and establish a safe home. But, now we are going to do more. We want to take the relationships we have already established with these mothers and help them take one step further, so they can better provide for themselves and their children.
The focus for the center will be on teaching soft skills and providing on-the-job training opportunities, in a flexible environment that allows more individualized plans for women, based on their specific needs. Wraparound services will include case management, mental health counseling, and life skills and parenting classes.
We purchased six acres of the Van Lierop Farm property on New Year’s Eve of 2016, after successfully raising $1.5 million in the first year of our capital campaign. We spent most of last year planning and finalizing plans for development of the site and launched our second phase of fundraising.
The Puyallup City Council recently unanimously approved our development agreement. Currently, we are in the process of submitting permits and working to finish raising the funds needed to prepare the facility for future use. To date, we have raised $3 million for renovations to the existing buildings, required utility upgrades, and site work.
We have over $750,000 in pending grants we are waiting to hear back on.
We are working hard to raise about $1,000,000 more, over the next few months, for us to remain on schedule for the planned Grand Opening of the center in 2018.
This has been a huge undertaking, and we still have a ways to go. The Van Lierop Bulb Farm has served this community for generations. We are excited to revive this beautiful farm and for it to start a new legacy that will allow it to be preserved and to continue to serve this community. The investments we are making here today will leave a lasting legacy and improve the quality of life for all our families.
The center will be named after Germaine Korum, who has battled lung cancer for years and is known for her advocacy for women and children.
The Korum family gave a $500,000 financial gift early on in the project that was matched to help us acquire the property. Additional naming opportunities are still available, including the 420-seat event hall and 2,000 square foot training kitchen.
Major donors for the center include the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, Bamford Foundation, Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Franciscan Foundation, Columbia Bank, and the Boeing Employees Community Fund.
If you are interested in one of our remaining Naming Opportunities, would like to come out and take a tour at the site, or have any questions or ideas, contact Krista:
July - Puyallup Valley Dental Care
Our clients and their families have been blessed by the generous donation of professional dental services that Dr. Steven Urback and his wonderful staff at Puyallup Valley Dental have given. On several occasions this year, a mobile dental van from Medical Teams International has come out to our office location, so that Dr. Urback, assisted by his staff, could volunteer and offer free dental treatments for our Step By Step moms and their families. Other Step By Step volunteers also helped, by cooking delicious breakfasts for the clients and caring for babies and toddlers, while their parents were receiving care. Thank you for contributing to our clients’ health, in such a tangible way!
August - Anne Poppino
A year ago, Anne began volunteering in our Step By Step office. Right away, we wondered how we ever managed without her. She enjoys creating order out of chaos... a skill often needed around here! When asked what drew her to volunteer she said, “I found myself with time and energy and a desire to contribute in some way, and I had a friend who worked for Step By Step. When I learned what the volunteers do, I thought I’m good at those things!” We wholeheartedly agree. Thank you, Anne!
SEPTEMBER - East Main Vision
This summer, Dr. Day and our dear friends and supporters from Dr. Joseph Day East Main Vision Clinic hosted a diaper drive for our moms and babies, collecting a total of 1,778 diapers, plus cash donations to be used for other baby necessities. Dr. Day and his East Main Vision office faithfully and generously support the women and families we serve!
Every year, Step By Step’s team, volunteers, and client moms with their families, join together to celebrate family, have a meal, and spend time together.
This event is a highlight of the year for many. It also gives previous client moms an opportunity to continue to be involved with their Step By Step family.
Saturday, December 2nd
4:30 - 6:30 pm
Northview Community Church
18303 Bothell Everett Hwy, Suite 150
Bothell, WA 98012
Sunday, December 3rd
5:00 - 7:00 pm
Lighthouse Christian Center
3409 23rd St W
Puyallup, WA 98373
It takes over 600 volunteers to put on these Christmas celebration events. Join one of our amazing volunteer teams that make Christmas special for our moms and their families!
If you are interested in volunteering, contact Annmarie at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at (253) 896-0903
You can donate to help cover the cost of the event or donate tangible items such as Christmas gifts, food, and lots more! We depend on the generosity of our community and donations for these events!
For more information,
contact Louanne at
SAVE THE DATE
"Legacy In Motion"
SPRING DINNER & AUCTION
THE GOLF CLUB AT NEWCASTLE
15500 SIX PENNY LANE | NEWCASTLE, WA 98059