Living Dreams Out Loud
I recently watched a professional basketball coach being interviewed by a reporter. The reporter was asking why he allowed one of his star players to attend the birth of his child instead of playing in their semi-final tournament.
The coach said, “I allowed Augusto to miss the tournament and attend the birth of his child, because that’s the height of the human experience.” He proceeded to ask the reporter, “Do you think basketball is the most important thing in life?” The reporter replied, “No, but a semifinal is important.” He asked, “To whom is it important?”
The reporter replied, “the team.” The coach paused for a moment and then said, “Important? When you see your first child, you will understand what one of the most important things in life is, because nothing can be more majestic in the world than the birth of a child. Not titles, not anything else. Augusto Limo is in heaven right now, emotionally.”
For so many, this is how the birth of a child is seen, the height of the human experience. But, for many others, the news of a pregnancy is seen as quite the opposite.
Contrast Augusto’s story with that of a call I received a few weeks ago. The call was from an employee from a store near our main office. This employee told me that a co-worker of hers had recently obtained a restraining order against her boyfriend for extreme domestic violence, when she found out she was pregnant with twins. She told me her co-worker was imminently suicidal and that she had thought of Step By Step. She was able to find my personal phone number and called. After our conversation, I called one of our most skilled counselors, who successfully did a crisis intervention with this woman.
For over 20 years, women have come to Step By Step, because their hearts want to be good moms, and they want to give their babies a healthy start and the best life possible.
Pregnancy can be a powerful catalyst for change, perhaps unlike any other time in a woman’s life. But, these women don’t always know what healthy looks like, not just their physical health, but the health of their whole person. Maybe they weren’t nurtured well as a child. Maybe depression has a tight grip. Maybe, because of their circumstances, they can’t see even a glimmer of hope for a better future. Maybe addiction has taken over their lives. The reasons are many.
We all know or can imagine that taking a woman from a place of considering suicide to living vibrantly and having the skills to be able to provide adequately for herself, her child, and her family takes a lot more support than what we can accomplish in the brief months of pregnancy and into the first months of her baby’s life.
Seeing and recognizing that there is a huge need for more, I looked around for someone to partner with, someone who could do the work of teaching the skills needed, while also providing critical wraparound support and family services. The finger that I hoped to point to someone else ended up spun around and pointed back at me. In the end, it just made sense. We have relationships with and the trust of so many women. It became clear that this was the natural next step for us.
Simon Sinek says there are only two ways to influence human behavior. You can manipulate it or you can inspire it. Step By Step’s program has and will continue to be founded on positive relationships, encouragement, and an effort to inspire women to be the best version of themselves and chase after positive transformational change, for a better future for their families.
At our recent annual fundraising dinner and auction, I invited two Step By Step moms, Anotinett and Rachel. They have been through a lot of hard stuff. As children, they experienced things that no child should ever experience, everything from emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse to the murder and death of multiple family members, to generational cycles of poverty. Today, you would never know it. They have risen above their circumstances in powerful ways. They fiercely love their children, and they are immensely grateful for Step By Step, especially their case managers. I loved giving them the chance to meet more members of their Step By Step family - staff, team members, volunteers, and donors. I wanted them to shake their hands, to see all of you who stand behind them.
At one point, when Antoinett found out she was pregnant, she thought suicide was her only way out. Now, she’s on her way to getting her MBA, and she dreams of when she will walk across the stage on her graduation day, with her son Noah in the crowd. Someday, no doubt, he will know that he was his mom’s greatest human experience.
When we interviewed Rachel for a recent video, she said “To be part of Step By Step, it’s an honor. You are creating dreams and having people live them out loud.”
I love that. It’s one thing to dream about the future, but it is another to live those dreams “out loud”, to do something about them, to take the steps needed to turn those dreams into reality. That is what we are all about.
My desire is that Step By Step never stops dreaming “out loud” and that we never cease working to take the next step to empower and encourage women to choose health, hope, and a brighter future for themselves and their families.
LEGACY IN MOTION PROJECT CLOSE TO BREAKING GROUND
A Lifelong Investment in Strong Families
Thanks to many of you, we raised $1.5 million and purchased acreage and multiple buildings to establish a mentoring and job training center. We have gone on to secure another $4.7 million of the approximately $5.5 million needed for construction and renovations.
This will create a 420-seat capacity banquet hall to rent out for events and generate revenue to support the program, a 2,000 square foot training kitchen to teach culinary skills, hospitality, and customer service, an 80-seat restaurant to provide on-the-job training and experience, onsite childcare, and classrooms to teach and counsel women and their families, and lots and lots of jobs.
The design and engineering of this project are done, and we expect building permits any day. We are diligently working to raise the remaining $800,000 needed, before we can break ground. If all goes as planned, we should be celebrating the Grand Opening of the center, later this year.
"Legacy In Motion" 14th Fundraising Dinner & Auction
Thanks to all of you, our 2018 fundraising dinner and auction was absolutely amazing! Together, we raised $300,067 to support our work and help moms and babies in need.
To all of you who were a part of this year’s event, thank you so much for your time and generous support of our work! We loved spending time with you and sharing more about how your support is bringing hope and health to mothers and babies and transforming lives for the better.
To all of the individuals and businesses who donated so many wonderful auction items and packages this year - you make this event possible!
We could not be more grateful for our generous guests, our amazing auctioneer, our presenters, and the many volunteers and auction committee members that made it all happen, AND our generous donors who offered to match the “Raise the Paddle” donations, up to $100,000!! We are so honored and grateful for your support.
Thank you ALL so very much!! We hope you had as much fun as we did, and we hope to see you all again next year!
30 Exquisite Cakes Raised $8,962 During Our Dessert Dash!
Thank you to all of the bakeries and individuals, who donated this year's amazing line up of desserts!
SPILLED BUTTER DESSERTS
CREME DE LA CREME
THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY
ELLIOTT BAY BREWERY
MAIN STREET BAKING COMPANY
THE GOLF CLUB AT NEWCASTLE
CHEF BETTE ANNE CURRY & CATERING
Interested in joining our
(253) 896 - 0903
Keller Williams Realty - Puyallup, WA
Late last year, we were approached by Katie England, from Keller Williams of Puyallup, as their office of realtors were looking to help a family in need, during the holiday season. We were able to link them with one of our moms, who had recently fled a domestic violence situation from another state and arrived here with nothing. She was pregnant with her third child, working, going to school, and living with relatives. She really needed help getting started in her own place, as she didn’t have enough money to get into an apartment, much less furnish it or purchase the things she needed for the baby she was expecting.
We have to say, the staff at this Keller Williams office have beautiful hearts. They gave so generously of their time and resources. In January, we were able to not only help this young mother locate and get into an apartment but also furnish it, for her sweet family. Katie continued to stay in contact with this mom and provided support and encouragement throughout this challenging transition. To see this community of people come together and go above and beyond to care for one of our Step By Step families is amazing! Thank you so much!
Over two years ago, Susie Christenson read about Step By Step on Facebook and resonated with our mission of helping moms build happy, healthy families. She decided to join our volunteer family and brought her variety of diverse talents to serve alongside us.
Susie works incredibly hard and has volunteered countless times. She is particularly helpful assisting with events, ensuring that each one turns out beautifully. From the early planning stages, right down to the late night work parties, she helps us get every detail just right.
We love her willingness to take on any task. Lately, you can find her assisting with office tasks or helping to plant flower baskets for our greenhouse. She says what she enjoys most about volunteering are the wonderful people she has met along the way. Your Step By Step family loves you, too, Susie!
Bill & Donna O' Ravez
Words can not begin to express the faithful encouragement and support that Bill & Donna O’Ravez have offered Step By Step, over the years. Longtime friends, donors, and volunteers, they continue to give of their time, talents, and treasure, selflessly and generously.
When they began to take steps to retire and close their family business, after generations of growing premium flowers and baskets for the community, they approached Step By Step with an idea to pass on their business to benefit our work and help moms and babies in need. Over the past few years, they have been teaching us how to grow their renowned flower baskets and will eventually step back and allow us to take the reins. In the meantime, they are generously volunteering their time and energy to grow alongside us. They are excited to help us open our first greenhouse, onsite at our location, this Spring.
We will forever be grateful for their friendship and ongoing support of our work. They are irreplaceable and well-loved members of our Step By Step family.