On October 12, Mary Hutchinson, CEO of Step 2, gave a heartfelt thank you to the Builders Association of Northern Nevada (BANN) and teams from Ryder Homes, Toll Brothers and D.R. Horton who have donated thousands of hours and roughly $200,000 to help renovate 4 cottages on the Lighthouse campus. BANN is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting the community with the people who build it.
Androo Allen of Toll Brothers Inc. assisted in emceeing the Step 2 reveal of the cottage renovation and said, “This shows you what Northern Nevada is really about. The program generates momentum and you begin to see the purpose and need for programs like Step 2. There is such a need for other programs and organizations to step up in the community.”
Women and their families currently in the program, and “Heroes” (alumni of Step 2) were also present during the event and shared their stories of hope and second chances given to them by Step 2 staff and its Board of Directors.
Amanda Meyers is a Step 2 Hero and held back her tears as she spoke about the first time she stepped onto the Lighthouse campus, “The moment you walk up to your cottage, not having a safe and sober home to have ever gone to, but you’re ready. Ready for a change, and that door opens. And it’s fully furnished with everything for you and your child — It’s an overwhelming and incredible experience.”
Step 2’s greater than 50% success rate exceeds the national average of a 17% by more than 3 times. Given that 1 in 5 women of childbearing age in Washoe County are in need of substance abuse treatment, this project is an important one for the community.
However, with less than 3% of women with their children receiving treatment and roughly 65% of women admitted into publicly funded treatment having dependents, there is a dire need for comprehensive services that meet the 5 domains that measure success. These areas are: sobriety, housing, employment, family stability, and overall well-being.
With a mission of empowering women and helping them turn their lives around with a second chance, Step 2, BANN and other sponsors and donors fully furnish each cottage to the needs of the mother and her children. Upon full graduation of the program (including successful job placement, sobriety, full custody of their children under the immediately accessible resources and support on the Step 2 campus) the families are able to take the furnishings with them as they begin their new lives.
“Seeing the bravery of these women, coming to get the help they need, in a community we helped build and to see the association giving back to the cause has created such empathy that we want to continue giving back and ask others in the community to step up and help fight these addictions and mental health issues,” said Don Tatro of BANN.
Torri is back in Reno in pursuit of what sets her soul on fire: documenting social issues and following stories wherever she goes. After her last freelance story with ThisIsReno in 2014, Torri has spent the past four years as a bilingual advocate for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and other traumatic crimes in diverse cities from San Diego to the rural deep South where she earned her master’s degree in social work. There, she developed a successful non-profit food pantry on campus, established, and created a disaster relief initiative for the School of Social Work and even volunteered to support refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan over a winter holiday break.