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Lifesteps Newsletter


Housemates & Best Friends

Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Program 

A Night to Remember 

Letter from Karen Sue Owens, Lifesteps President and CEO 

Housemates & Best Friends 

Housemates and Best Friends

A typical day at any home usually involves activities like preparing meals, cleaning, and coordinating family activities, to name a few. For Lauren and Sarah, housemates with intellectual disabilities who reside at one of Lifesteps over 50 Community Homes, life is typical but with a very special story. 
Lauren and Sarah are not only housemates but also best friends. After fifteen years of friendship, these very
 special women have been able to fulfill their dream of sharing a life with their best friend— a reality made possible through the support of Lifesteps.   
The women live together as part of Lifesteps’ Residential Living Services which encourages individual self‑direction, and choice. The service provides support for complex needs and promotes health, safety and wellness — all while helping individuals with disabilities live as independently as possible and become active members in their communities. 
“We provide adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to live independent everyday lives. The individuals participate in daily living activities just like anyone else who owns a home. We are pleased to have been able to provide Lauren and Sarah a place they can live, that was mutually acceptable, and met their goals,” says Michael Gathje, Lifesteps Chief Program Officer. 
Days in Lauren and Sarah’s home are just like any other. Like most housemates, they share the household responsibilities, even though Lauren admits she would rather leave the cooking to Sarah. They commute to work together with the help of their Residential Companions, and spend their free time together enjoying their favorite activities like scrapbooking or hosting their family and friends.  
“It’s a lot of togetherness,” said Community Homes Supervisor, Christine Wedlock. Christine and other Lifesteps staff members are residential companions who care for Lauren and Sarah every day and have become like extended family. Sarah’s mom Ruth agrees, “The staff helps to keep Lauren and Sarah involved in the community 24/7. They provide lots of structure and activities which are important, and Lifesteps made that possible.”
After over a year of living together, Lauren and Sarah could not be happier. Their mutual respect for one another is what makes their relationship not only work, but continue to grow. Through the love and support of their family, friends, and extended family of caring Lifesteps’ staff members, the possibilities are endless for Lauren and Sarah to lead everyday lives.

Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Program - Investing in Children's Futures

Long before children enter Kindergarten, their future begins to be shaped by the quality of their early experiences. Over forty years of research shows that children who attend high-quality preschool programs enter school better prepared and achieve greater success including fewer grade retentions, less special education placements, higher test scores, and increased graduation rates. Unfortunately, Lifesteps Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Programmany families may not be able to afford a high-quality preschool program, which can limit their child’s advantage when he or she enters Kindergarten. 
Through the generosity of local businesses, Lifesteps is able to offer Pre‑Kindergarten (Preschool) Scholarships to eligible families for part‑time or full-time preschool at Lifesteps’ Early Education Centers located in Beaver and Butler.
Scholarships are made possible through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program, which enables businesses to receive a tax credit of up to $200,000 when making a donation to a qualified scholarship organization such as Lifesteps.  
A Night to Remember
Lifesteps Star Gala 2015 Star Award Reciepient
The stars shined bright both inside and out at the 2016 Star Gala, where the community came together to celebrate Helenka Foley, the 2016 Star Award Recipient. Helenka, a student with special needs attending Lifesteps Transition Program…The Next Step, has faced challenges throughout her life. Through her hard work, positive attitude, and the support of her family and Lifesteps staff, Helenka has reached her goal of obtaining employment. She continues to strive towards new goals. 
Hosted at The Atrium in Prospect, PA and planned by a dedicated volunteer committee, the night featured dancing, silent auctions, and more. Through the support of sponsors, such as Lead Sponsor Seubert & Associates, and attendees the night raised over $45,000 for the Lifesteps Family Caring Fund. Thank you to everyone involved for helping to make it a night to remember. 

Letter from Karen Sue Owens, Lifesteps President and CEO 

Karen Sue Owens - CEO Lifesteps, Inc.

Moving into 2017, I reflect on the past year and the impact Lifesteps services has made on the lives of nearly 7,000 children, adults, and seniors in need. Children and individuals with special needs have grown, progressed, and reached milestones and goals. 
At Lifesteps, we are honored to be a part of their lives and believe in individuals having the opportunity to live their most purposeful life… and of course, we can’t do that alone. Lifesteps is blessed with a dedicated team of staff, volunteers, supporters, partners, Board of Directors who serve our mission throughout the year.
For nearly a century we have been dedicated to fulfilling our mission.
“Helping individuals and families with life’s changing needs by developing programs and providing services which will improve their quality of life.”
As we enter this New Year, we continue working to improve the quality of life for others.
On behalf of everyone at Lifesteps, please accept our thanks for your support and wishes for joys and blessings throughout the year!  
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