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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Crime & Law, Domestic Violence, Family Violence Shelters, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Shelters, Spouse Abuse Prevention

Mission: ALL PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO SAFETY AND DIGNITY IN RELATIONSHIPS. WE ARE DEDICATED TO ADULT AND CHILD SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. RESPONDING TO EACH FAMILY'S STRENGTHS AND VALUES, WE PARTNER TO ENHANCE SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY AND IDENTIFY PATHWAYS TO PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALING, HOUSING AND FINANCIAL SECURITY. WE WORK AT THE INDIVIDUAL, COMMUNITY AND SOCIETAL LEVELS TO END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

Programs: Residential program - provides communal housing and supportive services for up to two years for domestic violence survivors and their children who are homeless after fleeing abuse. Staff-intensive case management services include personal and professional skills development, psycho-educational group meetings, family nurturing and stabilization, housing search assistance and advocacy, financial and health literacy education, referrals to medical and mental health practitioners, support in the transition to living in the community.

community program - serves survivors of domestic violence living in the community and at all points across the continuum of recovery, from those still living with abuse to those coping with the aftermath of intimate partner violence. Services include safety planning, mentoring and peer support, individual advocacy, links to community services, child and family services, emergency financial resources, life and parenting skills development, including financial and health literacy education and referrals for education and job training. In addition, services include a legal advocacy assistance program that provides survivors of domestic violence with consultation with in-house staff to identify and address legal issues such as immigration, custody, landlord-tenant, etc. ; court accompaniment and preparation for legal proceedings; assistance with legal and government documents; referral to attorneys and legal aid groups.

children services - for children who have experienced domestic violence include advocacy and referrals to day care, school, vacation and summer camps, and to medical, dental, mental health, or legal professionals; referrals and emergency financial assistance to meet basic needs, including food, clothing, and school supplies; parenting support; staffed play space for children while their parents are in on-site meetings. Children's services also include a therapeutic after-school program for elementary school-aged children in residence, providing emotional support and personal skills development along with math and language arts enrichment to bring children with academic delays up to grade level.

outreach and education - services and programs include educational workshops and presentations for the wider community (including teens and college students) about healthy relationships, warning signs, and how to help victims of domestic violence. The second step mobilizes hundreds of volunteers from the community to participate in our work throughout the year. This ranges from volunteers who help at our back-to-school and our holiday gift drives, in our therapeutic after-school program, at our front desk, mentoring and helping in our community programs, cooking meals for our clients, and countless other ways. In addition, we engage the community in dozens of school drives, bar and bat mitzvah projects, and other events throughout the year. In total, over $250,000 a year is donated to the second step in in-kind donations. In addition, we estimate conservatively that over 3,500 volunteer hours are donated to the second step,representing a value of at least $150,000 in donated volunteer time.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have experienced The Second Step as a volunteer, former board development chair, donor, and Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign that enabled The Second Step to purchase and refurbish a second residence to double the number of families they serve in their residential program. My experience with The Second Step and the Capital Campaign was probably the single most significant and moving volunteer experience I have had in my many years as a community volunteer. It gave me the opportunity to make a concrete and measurable difference in the lives of women and children.

As a donor and a board member, I have always been impressed by how committed The Second Step staff and board are and how hard they work together to achieve the best results for their clients.. I was most actively involved at a time when major transitions were taking place: the agency was increasing the size of its staff and programming, and the board was transitioning from a founding board to a board that would be dealing with the new challenges that expansion and the next stage of organizational development present. I was very impressed by the degree of professionalism and commitment exhibited by both the staff and the board. The goal was always to focus on the needs of the families served and to find solutions to the issues that survivors of domestic violence face. Not only was the focus on current issues, but also on how to best serve these families in the future.

During the Capital Campaign I was able to meet both the donors who support The Second Step and the families served by the agency. Because of its excellent track record and the fact that The Second Step has a goal oriented program, donors were happy to commit their financial support for this project. The results of the program are measurable. Currently, 94% of those served who report back to The Second Step are abuse free, 87% are living independently, and 80% are off public assistance. The total effects on the lives of the families served are immeasurable.

As part of the campaign, we held numerous house parties in the local area, and clients of The Second Step were often invited to share their stories with the guests. It was very moving for everyone to hear directly from a client what a major impact their donations could have in the lives of survivors and their children. All of the speakers talked about what a difference The Second Step had made in their lives, and many expressed the hope that they would someday be able to give back to the program.

Personally, I have been impressed by the range of services offered to survivors and the fact that rather than duplicate the services that already exist in the community, The Second Step staff empowers survivors to connect with these resources. At the same time, The Second Step offers educational programs and mentoring for the mothers and a therapeutic afterschool program for the children. This program enables the children to deal with the trauma they have suffered, to learn how to break out of the cycle of abuse, and to heal from the damaging effects of what they have experienced and witnessed. Unlike a crisis shelter, The Second Step gives parents and children the necessary time to grow and to heal. Also, after families leave the residences, The Second Step continues to follow them. The Second Step recognizes that recovery is a long and complicated process, and staff is ready to help those who may encounter setbacks or who just need a little extra TLC. Some clients require years of support, and The Second Step is there to provide it.


In addition, The Second Step continues to expand its community programs for families who do not need to live in a residential setting, but who face many of the same problems as their residential counterparts. Staff also advocate for these clients and provide help with educational resources, job and career counseling, financial literacy training, life and parenting skills, legal advocacy, permanent housing assistance and nurturing groups.