Shelter graduate find independent and empowerment. Growing up, Sarah’s* life was full of trauma. Abusive, unhealthy relationships began for her at a young age. As she got older, she struggled to deal with the trauma and began using drugs, eventually ended up homeless for more than two years. After she began her journey of healing, Sarah found Stepping Stones and learned how her unhealthy relationships and codependent behaviors kept her from experiencing true independence.

At Stepping Stones, independence is all about empowerment and a therapeutic response. Each family has a different story, and with individualized advocacy plans, they can begin taking steps toward a future free from violence, chaos, and victimization. True independence can begin when families become stronger, more confident, and regain control of their lives with the help of therapeutic advocacy, education, and supportive fellowship.

For Sarah, independence came when she gained the confidence and control of her housing. “For me, my first huge experience of self-sufficiency and empowerment, and really true independence happened for me in transitional housing by paying my own rent. Transition for me represented earning my own money through an upstanding job at a convenience store, paying my own rent, and being fully responsible for myself, not obligated to anyone else.” When she was able to see that she was strong enough to do it on her own, she found her independence.

Sarah’s healing wasn’t a straight path, but today, she is thriving and supporting women who are walking in the same shoes she once did. “It’s been 16 years since that actually happened and I still get emotional remembering that because it was so empowering. I no longer felt like a victim, I no longer felt like I was dependent on somebody else. I could have my own voice and do things my own way.”

If you or someone you know is struggling to find their independence, our advocates are available 24/7/365: 928.445.HOPE (4673).

* Name changed