LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — Step By Step was founded back in 1995, but Executive Director Tanya Torp said this has been a year unlike any other.
"It has been a challenge, " Torp said.
Their mission is to empower and embolden young, single mothers ages 12-24 to improve their lives, their families and communities. That has not changed, but the way they are doing it has.
Torp explained, "We've had to move things online, and we've had to turn from offering programming to a lot of emergency response."
So, instead of their weekly in-person support groups and activities, they are focused on more crucial and basic needs like helping pay bills and easing anxieties, and they are doing much of that over the internet.
Program Director Alicia Sims said, "We also started doing online support groups. So we set it up that they could talk to one another and have that community and share what has been hard for them in this circumstance, being home with their kids, not being able to work. Some of them have family support, some of them don't, so sharing that support with each other and having that sense of community."
Throughout any given year, Step By Step serves about 250 young moms and their kids, but right now they have about 25 to 40 moms who need what they call strategic help due to the pandemic. For the first time ever in the history of the non-profit, they have raised funds specifically to help these moms pay their bills and put food on their tables.
"So suddenly they're stay-at-home moms that are also homeschooling their children, but they can't work. And so we knew they would be experiencing some financial hardships, " Torp said.
They said it has been inspiring not only helping these young moms but watching them help each other during this unprecedented time.
Torp said, "It's a scary time to be delivering in a hospital, and you can only have one person inside the hospital with you. We've seen moms take one another's phone number so that they can text one another while they're in labor. It's amazing to see how they're supporting one another."
Whether it has been delivering necessities to their doorsteps, providing access to crucial resources or just being an ear to listen, Step By Step is proud to have continued to fulfill their mission even through the most difficult of times. Meeting these young moms exactly where they are and lifting them up to their fullest potential.
"These folks are the future of Lexington. They really are. This is the next generation of Lexingtonian leaders, and as we pour into them they are able to do all of the things they've wanted to do, " Torp said.
If you are a young, single mom age 12-24 and you think you could benefit from Step By Step's resources, contact them at SBSLEX.org.
Step By Step also anticipates they will continue to need to help these moms financially, to donate head to SBSLEX.org or send checks to:
PO Box 593 Lexington, KY 40588