Our organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1999 to address the shortage of support-based programs and education. Originally named "Camp Paz" (Paz being Spanish for peace), the organization evolved to become Stepping Stones of Hope in 2003.
Although our name changed, the mission of Stepping Stones of Hope remains the same: "...we are dedicated to providing comprehensive support-based programs, continuum of care and education to grieving children, families, adults and communities."
Our vision is to be the premier provider of community driven grief and wellness outreach programs.
In order to fulfill our vision and our mission, we must first embrace the primary objectives of Stepping Stones of Hope; (1) respect all children and families who are grieving regardless of culture, values or socioeconomic status; (2) provide comprehensive support, understanding and education about grief and bereavement; (3) uphold confidentiality and integrity in all situations and circumstances; (4) commit to a high level of internal and external client service; (5) commit to work with other agencies to provide the best level of care and continuum of care for grieving children and families; and (6) commit to serve the community, work with stakeholders to provide services, and educate the community about the needs of grieving children and families.
The focus of all programs is to help participants build self esteem, reduce feelings of guilt, reduce anxiety about showing feelings of grief, diminish the profound sense of isolation and loneliness, decrease fear by understanding the causes of death, diminish fears that loved ones will be forgotten, teach healthy coping skills, help them to understand that everyone grieves differently and to increase friendships with peers who share the common experience of the death of a loved one.
Why Offer Such Programs?
Unfortunately there is a need for our programs. Research shows that:
- 3.5 percent of children under the age of 18 experience the death of a parent annually. The number of children affected in Maricopa County is conservatively 86 children a day! This figure does not include the death loss of siblings, relatives, friends or other significant loved ones.
- Stepping Stones of Hope programs have historically served children and families who experienced a death loss due to cancer (26%), suicide (21%), heart (17%) motor vehicle accidents (24%) and violent crimes (10%).
- Death loss of a parent is one of the top five risk factors for children who experience certain behavioral problems.
- 86 - 92% of all youth in drug and alcohol treatment programs experienced the death loss of a parent before age 18.
- Studies of prison populations show that 85% of all inmates on death row had experienced the death of a parent, usually mother, when they were young.
- Arizona is experiencing the highest growth rate in the country among children under 5, and the second highest population growth among children 5 to 17. The number of children enduring the death of a parent or loved one is sure to rise in the years to come.
The demand for our programs continues to increase as the nature and frequency of violent deaths are on the rise and there continues to be limited services available to families who are learning to cope after their loss. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of children and families we serve have received support services prior to participating in our programs. This statistic suggests that there is a need for a more long-term, comprehensive focus on grief and bereavement services provided in our community. To address this need, our organizational goals are strongly tied to providing multiple strategies for growth and healing with an additional emphasis on providing continuum of care for our program participants.
The families that seek our services come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are in complex relationships and some are bereaved by tragic circumstances. There is no typical death loss, typical child or typical family.
For more information contact:
Stepping Stones of Hope
4000 North 7th Street, Suite 108
Phoenix, AZ. 85014