Non-Profit Spotlight: STEP2

What is STEP2?
STEP2 is a private, local non-profit located in Reno, Nevada.  This organization was started in Reno and is the only STEP2 in the country; they are not part of a national affiliation.  STEP2’s vision is to save lives and restore families by providing comprehensive, coordinated services related to the treatment and recovery of chemically dependent women and their families, resulting in sustainable self-sufficiency.

How did STEP2 get started?
STEP2 was founded in 1986 by a professional woman whose secretary was a single mom battling alcohol use disorder. At that time, as a single mom, she was not able to go to treatment without giving her kids to the state. She had a tough decision to make: Did she receive treatment that she desperately needed, or did she maintain custody of her kids and continue to battle on her own? Her boss and her friends got together (one of them had a clinical background) and decided to find a way to get her help. A woman should not have to choose between receiving necessary treatment and being a mom.” Together, they started STEP2, the first gender-specific treatment center for women in Nevada that allowed a woman to maintain custody of her children while going through treatment.

What does STEP2 offer to clients and/or to the community?
STEP2 is a long-term substance use treatment program for women. There is a residential facility on their campus where, if assessed at this level, a woman may live for anywhere between three to four months.  STEP2 is a very individualized program, so there are no set time limits on how long a woman takes to move into each phase of recovery. During her time in the residential facility, she’ll spend 30 hours each week in our clinical building receiving clinical treatment.

“If you think about how much work 30 hours of therapy is a week, it is no joke” stated Mari Hutchinson, CEO of STEP2. “These women are at STEP2 to change their lives and to change the lives of their children.  It’s an intensive process.”

Throughout residential treatment the women are very focused on drug and alcohol treatment, but STEP2 is a holistic program. Substance use is very generational.  Approximately 84% of the women that find their way to STEP2 each year report a family history of substance use, so most of the women supported by STEP2 grew up with one or more parents who also battled addiction. Many of the women lack basic life skills that we take for granted. In addition to substance use treatment and trauma and domestic violence counseling, STEP2 offers parenting groups, nutrition classes, financial training, workforce development and self-empowerment support.

When a woman is ready to complete residential treatment, if she has a safe and sober home in the community, she can go live at home and continue to receive outpatient services with STEP2 for as long as she needs. However, most of the women that come to STEP2 do not have a safe and sober home to go to when they complete residential treatment, so a woman and her children have the opportunity to move into one of the 25 cottages located on STEP2’s campus.  These cottages are fully furnished with pots, pans, dishes, couches, beds, everything she needs – 100% of which are community donations. When she successfully completes the program, she and her children take all of that with them to start their life after STEP2.

During the year that a woman lives in STEP2’s cottages, she continues outpatient services with STEP2, at first daily and then slowly less often. STEP2’s focus, at this point, is to help her become ready for life after STEP2.  STEP2’s staff works with her to find suitable employment, reunify with minor children, line up quality child care, create and adhere to a budget, stick to a schedule and gain many more life skills.  A woman spends this year either learning for the first time, or re-learning, how to successfully live a sober life. STEP2 is giving her and her children an opportunity for a future that they did not have.

What has STEP2 accomplished, and what are you most proud of?
That first year back in 1986 STEP2 helped two women and their children.  In 2018, STEP2 helped 210 women, and associated with them were 408 children. That is a direct impact on 618 members of the Nevada community.

Earlier this year, STEP2 hit a major milestone of having worked with 4,000 clients.

“I always like to invite people to think of this number,” said Mari Hutchinson, CEO of STEP2. “Then think about the parents, siblings, best friends, co-workers and realize that the work we do is far-reaching and affects so many in our community and beyond.”

What is great about running a non-profit in Nevada?
The extreme generosity of our community.

What would you say are some of the most difficult things you face as a non-profit organization?
One of the most difficult things for STEP2 is making sure that those who need their services are aware they are available.  A close second is educating the community about drug addiction and the struggle to get back on track and stay there.

Are there any Nevada organizations or individuals that you would like to give a “shout out” to?
STEP2 is very lucky to have committed, involved and passionate individuals who make up our Board of Directors. Additionally, STEP2 is extremely grateful for the support of the many organizations and individuals that give of their time and/or resources to support our cause to save lives and restore families.

How can an individual or business assist you in your efforts?
There are many ways you can support STEP2’s efforts, including participating in and/or sponsoring events, donating your time or gently used or new items and/or contributing financially.  Visit their website to find out more.

3700 Safe Harbor Way
Reno, NV 89512