Who We Are

Who We AreAbout Stepping Stones of Hope

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.

To read the Founder's Vision Statement, please click here.

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 young people in drug and alcohol rehab treatment programs have experienced the death of someone important. –Virginia Simpson, Ph.D. The Mourning Star, Palm Desert CA
  • Studies of prison populations show that 85% of all inmates on death row experienced the death of a parent during their childhood. –Virginia Simpson, Ph.D. The Mourning Star, Palm Desert CA
  • 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.