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Stepping Stones, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Disabilities, Health, Human Services, Voluntary Health Associations & Medical Disciplines

Mission: TO INCREASE INDEPENDENCE, IMPROVE LIVES AND PROMOTE INCLUSION FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES.

Programs: Operation of camp allyn, a residential/day camp serving 350-450 individuals with disabilities each summer.

year-round services/activities for individuals with disabilities and their families. These include adult habilitation and therapy services, step up, camp, alternative autism program, and weekend respite care.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I worry that Stepping Stones might not be living up to its own standards.

A summer program I taught for had us take our classes to Stepping Stones as a service project/field trip. Each of our students was paired with a camper to supervise and accompany throughout the day. My students (12-14 years old) were told to run after campers who left the group, and to help them in the pool. The staff seemed too harried and overwhelmed to keep track of all that was going on, and my students and I were often left to tackle tricky situations on our own. We were given no training or advice, and my students were placed in unsafe situations, as when their campers were physically larger than they were. Some of my students were told to swim with campers, despite not knowing how to swim. As a teacher, I never want to expose my students to unsafe situations, and I felt that the volunteer structure of Stepping Stones was not a safe one for my students.

I'm also worried about the safety and well-being of the campers. I know very little about special education, but I can't imagine it's good for people with developmental disabilities to be supervised by volunteers with such minimal training. The structure of the organization--which pairs clients with volunteers for the day--seems designed for photo ops and feel-good moments for volunteer groups, rather than for the well-being of the clients. If I were the caregiver for a developmentally-disabled person, I would hesitate before letting Stepping Stones provide programming for my loved one, for fear they privilege the desires of volunteers to feel like they are "helping the needy" above the needs of the people they purport to serve.