STEP (Serving Teaching & Empowering People) is a nonprofit located in Browerville, MN with Thrift Store locations in Sauk Center and Staples. STEP formally known as the Todd County DAC has proudly served the Central MN area since 1973. We provide programming and services for adults with developmental disabilities and those with mental and emotional challenges. STEP has grown over the years and now offers an adult day program, educational opportunities, and work experience. Our programs encourage valuable growth experiences for our clients. Clients are allowed, encouraged, trained, and supported by direct support personnel who understand their individualized needs and talents.
On March 17 STEP was told we needed to CLOSE and STOP providing services for the 82 consumers that we serve on a daily basis. We were under the impression like everyone else that we would be back to work in 2 weeks. As we loaded sad consumers most whom did not understand why they would not be back the next day our hearts broke. Well as most of us know the 2 weeks quickly turned into 2 months+ with little guidance given to Day Programs. As regulations were lifted and the Stay at Home Order ran out, we were hopeful to come back to work and give the people we serve a much-needed return to their normal lives. However, the rug was pulled out from under us and we were told that we could not bring the people we serve back. This was such a huge let down. May 30th we were told that we could bring people back to work and in center who did not reside in a group home YES! We called all of the people we serve who fell into this category and let them know they could FINALLY RETURN they were so excited to be able to come back; family members were so excited for them to FINALLY be able to return to STEP. HOWEVER, the next day came and with it a whole new set of guidelines which are lengthy and ever changing one big one was that they can only come back for 1/2 a day at a time. Well calling everyone back and telling them that first of all we could not start back the day we had originally stated and then it will only be 1/2 days let me tell you tears have been shed. This is bringing me to the reason that we need this Go Fund Me we will not make it, programs like STEP across Minnesota have already had to close their doors for good, if there are no people to serve, we cannot make any income and therefore cannot pay the bills. THE COMMUNITY NEEDS STEP if you talk to anyone we serve or their families they will tell you STEP is NEEDED. If we have to close there will be 82 people with no programming to go to and we CAN NOT allow that to happen. I receive messages from people we serve daily wanting to come back and I want them to come back the 35 staff that STEP employs want them to come back.
Please do not allow this Pandemic to take away a business that has served people for 47 years. We want to come back we want everyone we serve here at STEP to have a place to come back to. Returning from this outbreak to a Minnesota where adults with significant developmental and physical disabilities lack access to meaningful and individualized services to support them in their employment and day enrichment activity goals will be a particularly devastating loss. We need your help to prevent that from happening. Please consider donating to help KEEP our doors OPEN. PLEASE HELP SAVE US FROM COVID-19