Advocates and mentor advocates spend time talking with residents and helping them achieve personal goals.

Stepping Stones is all about SERVICE. In 2016, Stepping Stones advocates served our community by providing more than 6,800 hours of face-to-face advocacy services. That’s about 19 hours a day of crisis counseling, support groups, criminal justice advocacy, and safety planning every single day of the year. Through daily support, Stepping Stones advocates create safe space for women and families to do the hard work creating a strong future. Regular weekly check-ins with advocates allow women opportunities to review their goals and see what the next steps are toward their self-sufficiency and personal growth.

Service doesn’t stop with our advocates though. Women in our program have opportunities to serve by becoming mentor advocates. Mentor advocates have spent time working on their goals and personal growth in our programs, and they are ready to share what they have learned with others. They work closely with our advocates to learn how to provide basic advocacy services such as safety planning and facilitating support groups, as well as serve as an on-campus point of contact during their shifts.

A recent graduate from our mentor advocate program said, “It was special to be able to meet a new resident in the middle of the night and sit with her while she was trying to debrief after a traumatic incident. It was so rewarding to be able to tell her I’d ‘been there done that’ and if she works hard, she can get back on her feet, too.”

We believe that there is empowerment and motivation in a shared experience and support from someone who “gets it” and has been there before. Mentor advocates can give a new person something that the average case worker could never give: their experience, strength, and hope, and the message, “I was in a similar situation, and here’s what worked for me…” They have lived through chaos and violence and can use their hard work to support others who are just starting their journey to healing. A mentor advocate’s service is just one more way that Stepping Stones is able to support families right here in West Yavapai County.