Steps to Success

Success only comes to those who know how to achieve it.  Many are taught that the sky is the limit.  Much of what we know comes to us from our environment, how we were raised, what our parents taught us and what we learned over time.  It is sometimes so deeply ingrained that we never realize we know it.  Not everyone grew up with the same opportunities to learn and some were never taught those much needed skills in order to thrive in the fast paced world.  Some may not even know what it takes to achieve success. 

Imagine growing up in a family where your parent(s) main concern was to support their own habit by selling drugs.  As a child you were a second priority, you knew there was love and that they cared for you but they just didn’t know how to provide for you.  As you grow up you didn’t have the chance that others did to learn the skills needed to find and maintain long term employment or support your own family.  You’re used to a life of chaos that follows you into adulthood further hindering your ability to succeed.  There is an inner conflict and as life seems to finally settle a bit something always seems to stir it back up again.

For others life is different they grew up in a life of poverty knowing only what they had accessible to them during that moment.  Your highest level of education is elementary school, maybe junior high; you may have even grown up in a war torn country and moved from refugee camp to refugee camp watching the world around you crumble.  You receive word that you have the chance to come to America, the land of opportunity where anything is possible.  Once here you’re on foreign ground and your world is turned upside down and everything is so strange.  The only success you know is achieving the means to live day by day and never knowing it is possible to do more, like owning a house or earning more than minimum wage. 

In each of these scenarios people were not given the tools needed to achieve a prosperous life.  They only know the environment they are used to, some may not even know it is possible to hope for more.  These are the reasons why Stepping Stones was created.  We want everyone to know that dreams are possible, there is nothing standing between an individual and prosperous future.  That future is built upon a foundation of skills, the question is what skills can you teach to those in need?  Sometimes all it takes is one person to show you how to open those doors, that you can step through and find that dreams are possible.   

A message from founder Laurie Christopher.

Laurie, a member of Women of L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1ST, wrote of recognizing inner strength, self empowerment and how these are an important part of being you.

Women of L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1ST serves to strengthen, positively direct, educate and uplift girls and women in order to bring them closer to their life's purpose.

Franklin Grove sees success with Service Learning students.

From our Service Coordinator, Sarah, at Franklin Grove:

This fall several residents participated in the “That’s my Story and I’mSticking to It!” project. During the fall semester Boise State students helped participating residents define and capture stories that they wanted remembered for their families. Students helped them compile their stories and create a scrap book.Each resident was able to create this project a little differently. Some are more personal than others.

This was overall a very positive experience for all! We plan to do this again next autumn, here are some of the responses of our residents:

"I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to do this but Sarah and my care provider,Toni, told me that they so enjoyed my stories that they though I should do it.I had so much more fun than I thought I would have. I really enjoyed talking with Ann, the BSU student, who helped me. She made a beautiful book and my family really enjoyed seeing it. We think we will continue to visit each other. I was pleasantly surprised. I decided to not get as personal so I am willing to share it with others."

"I have wanted to get somethings written down for a long time and this really helped me. I really enjoyed working with Mark, the student whoen couraged me to put it all together. This was a very positive experience for me. Doing this book helped me realizehow strong I have been in my life. I am willing to show my book to anyone if they are interested."

"I really enjoyed working with the student from BSU. It made me feel good to have someone interested in my life stories. Who would have thought that someone else would find my life interesting! I am happy to have this recorded and something to share with my family. Some of my entries are a bit more personal so I have decided that this book is for family only."

"I really liked working with my student. She listened really well. One thing that I really cherish is that she asked my mom to write a letter to me for the scrap book. It is beautiful and made me feel loved and special."

The Greatest Gift to Give

Now is the time of year people recognize as a season of giving. We give thanks on Thanksgiving and celebrate the winter holidays by spending time with friends and family. Some give gifts, others donate to charity. This is also a time where our financial means may stretch to limit in order to keep up with what we had done in years past. In a struggling economy with job security on the forefront of most people’s minds this is no easy task. It is easy to forget that we all have something more valuable than money in our possession and that is time. It costs nothing to donate but can touch lives in so many more ways than any physical gift can.

During this holiday season we encourage everyone to take a few moments out of their lives and do something nice for someone else. Spend a little extra time with your children or someone who may not have family available during the season. Those small moments are chances to create lasting memories for those that may not have enough happy ones. Most organizations need volunteers throughout the year and Stepping Stones is no exception. If you have the time to give then take that step and seize the opportunity to make those memories. This is a time of year when many people need those happy memories the most.
Overall Idaho is winning it's long and persistent battle against the meth epidemic that struck our state over two decades ago. Although it has come to the forefront in recent years as a record number of our youth were falling victim to this terrifying drug there are still many others that continue down the path of addiction through other substances. State wide statistics according to the Idaho state police show that there is a rise in drug related crimes and arrests in recent years. The anti meth commercials have proven effective but we must look at education through a wider lense and educate the youth of our community on all of the threats they face.
Stepping stones recently implemented the L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1st program which was made possible by Drug Free Idaho and are now beginning stage two with drug awareness and education classes. We believe this to be the most effective way to keep our children safe. Through education they can not only make better decisions but know fully the consequences faced with drug use. Our center director's aim was to familiarize our Wylie center residents with most common drugs and how dealers have begun to market these to younger generations. An example of this include using cool-aid and other flavorings to make ingestible drugs such as meth more palatable for teens and children.
Participants were introduced to the drugs, their effects and most importantly their dangers. Examples were given through video interviews with real addicts and photos of how drugs can ravage the users body. They were also introduced to some of the newer fads such as huffing and over the counter drug abuse that has seen a rise in popularity. They were shown interviews with parents who had lost their own children to these dangerous activity.
Our hope is to not only impact our Wylie center community but also other communities containing Stepping Stones centers. We believe that education will create a ripple effect, children will educate their friends and family and their new knowledge will spread to those who have not benefitted through education.

Helping the community and those in need

Stepping Stones will be holding a donation drive next week, July 25-29. Locations to drop off items will include Flying "M" Coffee (from the 27th-29th) and any Mountain West Bank branch. We are also looking for individuals who would like to assist in picking up donation items from these locations.

Donation items can include:

School supplies
Kitchen items such as pots,pans and utensils
Bathroom supplies such such as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste ect.
Cleaning supplies
Educational material for children

Cash donations can also be made at any of the bank branches. Mountain West Bank has been kind enough to set up an account for donations.

We would like to thank everyone in advance for your contributions.

What it takes to be a leader.

Looking back on our years spent as children and young adults one realizes the pressures faced in the years of our youth. Today those pressures have become greater with the advent of technology and easy access to drugs that are deadlier than any generation before has known. It is times like these that require strength of character and strong morals. L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1st has developed a program that takes real world examples and creates scenarios that show how the decision making process is crucial to live a life that is not only drug free but is set upon a path towards success.

Stepping Stones has teamed up with L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. 1st to share this program with the children of our centers. The Wylie center has been selected to be the first of many to participate in this program. It will be followed by an in depth drug awareness program to create a familiarity with commonly used drugs and the dangers of their use.

In conjunction with the youth program we will also offer a version for adults that will focus on the decision making process for parenthood, strengthening the family and giving their children the support needed to face the pressures of their peers. Upon completion of the program both youth and adults will be entered into a drawing to win cash prizes in appreciation for their attendance and participation.

Rock painting a smashing success!

We all at Stepping Stones would just like to send out a personal 'thank you' for all who showed up to the Boise State University quad this afternoon and participated in our personalized rock painting event! It was a great success and everyone some really super creative designs were made. (For pictures, look here: Step it Up!

Now we move on to phase two!

Did I Hear "Rock Painting!?"

Be sure to come on down to the Boise State quad next Wednesday 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM for our awesome rock-painting event that will benefit low-income individuals in need of quality housing! A great cause in need of some great people!

Grand Opening of our Newest Stepping Stones Computer Learning Center!

This affordable housing community is located in Payette, Idaho and is sponsored by Idaho Senior Health Insurance Benefit Advisers (SHIBA).

Our learning center is a certified Medicare site. Certified counselors will provide assistance to elderly persons within the Payette, Idaho community with Medicare, Medicare Supplements, Long Term Care Insurance, HMO’s, the Prescription Drug Coverage Plan, and Preventative Screenings Medicare benefits.

Other programs include:

Veteran learning and outreach programs will be provided.

Independent living skills training, debt reduction, nutrition, and cooking on a budget classes.

Financial literacy and identity theft education.

• Talking Book Service.

• Computer basics, email and web surfing basics to connect residents to health care, family, and more.

A special thank you to Diane Laurance, and the Residents at Payette Plaza, Karen Clark at SHIBA , Shane Vigil with lectrical Controls and Instrumentation, Ray Niederwarder At Sunnyridge, Todd Mahoney and Rebecca Mercer at NWRECC, for their hard work, dedication, and volunteer time to help make Payette Stepping Stones Computer Center a reality!

Be Part of Neighborhood Networks

Be Part of Neighborhood Networks
Do something Good...for Residents, for Community...for You

NWRECC Featured on HUD's National Website for our Best Practices

Idaho's Newest Neighborhood Networks Center to Serve as Flagship for Future Centers

Please click on link for story

Resident Initiatives Focus

The Challenge

Many of our residents may be capable of gaining employment (and many are already working), but they commonly have difficulty securing steady employment or advancing in work, despite other government and state employment assistance that might be available.Some residents face substantial personal and situational barriers to employment, including low education and skill levels, health problems, personal or family problems, as well as, limited knowledge about or skill in finding jobs and/or advancing in their current opportunities.

Neighborhood Networks is part of the Solution
We believe that given access to technology, proper assistance and incentives in our project based housing communities, many more assisted residents could enter work, sustain work, and achieve advancement in the work they currently do now. A sense of a community may also be obtained by connecting the social and economic institutions to residents, allowing them the chance to be productive members of the community.

Northwest Real Estate Capital Corp. believes that only with the strong foundation of safe affordable housing and comprehensive strategies that address the multiple barriers many residents face will we truly and effectively assist our Residents in navigating their way to better opportunities.

Our computer-learning center is a very powerful step in creating this foundation.

Our Plan

Our Neighborhood Networks Centers will offer the following training and programs to our residents and community:

Job-skills training/employment
Job-readiness training
Job-retention services
Job posting, search or placement services
Introduction to/familiarization with computers
Structured Internet access and access to local services
Economic development (microenterprises, small business development)
Telecommuting and remote job access training
Children's education programs (0-12 years)
Youth education programs (13-17 years)
Adult basic education/literacy
English as a Second Language (ESL) programs
GED/high school equivalency certificate programs
Adult continuing education programs
Family education programs
Children's activities (0-12 years)
Youth activities (13-17 years)
Adult activities (18-64)
Senior services (65+)
Personal financial management counseling