A Jewel in our Midst
By Ed Hughes MPS, LICDC-CS
Beginning in 1992 as little more than a hope and dream, today the Stepping Stone House Women’s Residential Program has developed into a premier treatment center for women struggling with addiction. Prior to Stepping Stone House, the staff at The Counseling Center worried that too few women sought our service, primarily due to the gender-specific obstacles that existed for women. Women faced greater issues with stigma, transportation, child care, safe housing, and access to health care. The creation of Stepping Stone House was our attempt to resolve as many of those issues as possible….and it worked. Since the inception of Stepping Stone House, thousands of women have benefited from the program’s offering of housing, counseling, child care, transportation, health care, and network of continuing care services. We have attracted addicted women from all over the state, becoming a provider of choice for those with dependent children and/or experiencing pregnancy. We have counted 165 drug free, healthy babies born to women at Stepping Stone House since 2008, and that number climbs every month. Recently we were blessed to add a new service to our program called “Continuing Care”, an outreach and networking program for women who are leaving Stepping Stone House and returning to their home community. Sherry Holbrook, R.N., our first Continuing Care Specialist, will follow women as they return home, to provide additional counseling, assure follow-up for primary care and pediatric medical appointments, and give support for the transition back to home and community. It is always difficult to measure the full impact of all we do to help others. Sometimes the best and lasting outcomes are in the lives we touch that may never know the role we played. The healthy baby that grows up with a healthy, sober mom who never experienced the impact of addiction because mom came to Stepping Stone House in a state of desperation, but stayed to create a new future and history for herself and her children. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?! Congratulations to everyone connected to The Counseling Center’s Stepping Stone program!