Dreams And Memories Define Our Future

 
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DREAMS & MEMORIES DEFINE OUR FUTURE

From Krista Linden, Step By Step's Founder & Executive Director

Last weekend, I attended our “Making Memories Together” family Christmas events, alongside 1,630 Step By Step guests and over 600 volunteers! 

2017 marks our 18th year hosting these Christmas celebrations for the families we serve. So many moms expressed to me how much they look forward to these celebrations. Some of the older kids told me they had been counting down the days. 

One mom texted her Step By Step case manager after the party, to express her gratitude. She said, “Thank you! That was one of the most welcoming, warm, and inviting celebrations. Thank you for inviting us.  It was truly a joy to be a part of such a cheerful event. It really brought the Christmas spirit back to my heart. With all the hiccups in my life right now, I had a Grinch heart. However, the love that overfilled the center last night changed my heart very quickly to a jolly-spirited heart. I am beyond grateful!”

The recent hiccups in this mother’s life have been significant. These words of thankfulness, joy, and hope are worth celebrating, all on their own. 

In the nonprofit world, we are pressured to extract and provide quantitative data and to produce specific, measurable results. While that is important, we have found that more often than not, the most meaningful impact of our program is immeasurable. 

The impact of being kind, listening, smiling, holding a baby, letting a new mom sleep, giving diapers, preparing a meal, making a phone call, offering a hug, can not be quantified. When I look back on the most impactful moments in my life, many were simple, insignificant acts.

As a mother of seven, I am very familiar with the challenge of working to be a good mom and parent my daughters well. 

While things like good health care and basic needs are essential to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy family, the most impactful moments of motherhood are often the most invisible. The effect of a kind word and affirmative support can’t be put on a graph or used in a statistic, but it has the power to change the course of someone’s life for the better.

As we near the end of 2017, I can tell you that we have served over 1,300 women and their families this year. We have helped prevent 26 struggling moms, and their children, from becoming homeless. Over 95% of our mothers have delivered healthy babies at a healthy birth weight. Many of our mothers have committed to breastfeeding, quit smoking, overcome addictions, and chosen safer, healthier, and more positive homes for their children.

Much of the real and lasting impact we have made in the lives of women and families is witnessed in silent and intangible moments. We see it in a mother’s smile, as she breastfeeds her baby. We see it in tears of healing. We see it in neatly folded piles of baby clothes. We can see it in a woman’s eyes, the moment when she is no longer blinded by hopelessness, anxiety, and despair and is suddenly able to see the glimmer of a dream, possibility, and the potential for her to create a brighter future for herself and her baby. 

I read a quote recently that said “Remember, there is no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” This holiday season, I want to thank you for the tireless sacrifices you have given to help us build stronger and healthier families in our community.

No matter what your capacity is, every dollar and every minute you invest in the life of a mother and her newborn matters. You may not always see the ripple effect, but I can assure you that your kindness reaches into the hearts and souls of new mothers and tiny brand new babies, every day. 

As we celebrate the end of another successful year and plan and prepare for the challenges ahead, I hope you know how much your kindness and support means to me, to the Step By Step team, and to all of the families we serve. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!


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Making Memories And Celebrating Dreams Together

More than 1,600 guests were served at our 2017 family Christmas celebrations, which were held at both Lighthouse Christian Center in Puyallup and Northview Community Church in Bothell. Months of planning and preparation and an army of volunteers made these parties a huge success. 

Over 600 volunteers came together to serve. They rolled thousands of sets of utensils, roasted over 80 turkeys, organized 30 huge totes of decorations and party supplies, made dozens of raffle baskets, baked hundreds of cookies and cupcakes, put together 450 grocery gift bags, and donated countless gifts and toys for moms and kids.

Somehow, the many volunteer leaders and planners kept everyone organized and on track.  Thank you for welcoming our moms and families with open arms, friendly hearts, and giving hands. Thank you for hosting, serving, and celebrating with our families.

We would especially like to thank our family portrait photographers: Ryan & Jacy Taisey, Susan Schroeter, Duncan MacDonald, Debbie Rumpza, Jody Phipps, Darel Roa, Bradd Reynolds, Dan Devries, and Bonnie King. Family photo stations are always the most coveted and chaotic areas of the evening. You put our guests at ease and helped them capture lasting memories. 

A huge thank you must also go out to Everett Blankenship, who made it possible for us to print Santa photos onsite, for both events. Guests were so excited to get their photos right away! And, of course we can never give enough gratitude to Santa, who was in top form at both events, posing with every child and family with a jolly smile and unending patience.

We are so grateful to be able to partner with these generous church congregations, year after year. While we could never hope to name all of those who contributed, we’d like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for providing our families with joyful Christmas memories. We couldn’t do it without you!

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October - Rachel Hull

Rachel has volunteered with Step By Step for almost a year now, after learning about us from one of her friends. We are so grateful for Rachel and her willingness to do anything she’s asked. She has been a huge help, both at events and here at the office. When our office manager went on vacation this fall, she came in daily to answer the phone and handle our client referrals… a massive job! Rachel says she loves the mission of Step By Step and is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the work here. We’re glad you’re part of the family, Rachel!

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Phone: (253) 535-3200
Toll-Free: (866) 948-3200
www.evergreenrestoration.com

November - Evergreen Restoration

Just before Thanksgiving this year, we were approached by Evergreen Restoration of Puyallup, wondering if we knew a family they could bless with a holiday meal. Of course, we said, “Yes!” Owner Dianna Sims graciously and generously provided a lovely meal, with extra special touches, to one of our client families. And, two of our own volunteers were able to deliver it. Thanks for your commitment to bettering our community, Evergreen Restoration!

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December - Everett Blankenship

Everett recently became aware of Step By Step and has followed our work with great interest. He was delighted when Krista approached him about helping with the Santa Photo station, at our annual Christmas events. Everett runs a small photo booth business and his skills and speedy printer helped us spread holiday cheer, and families were able to go home from the events, with Santa photos in hand. Everett says he was touched by the dedication of the “sea” of amazing volunteers and looks forward to future projects. 

Mr. Everett’s Photo Booth

http://mreverettsphotobooth.com