Skills Training and Educational Programs
We believe community development is built ‘One STEP at a time.’ Our vision is that every person touched by LifeSTEPS will be empowered with the skills, resources, and support to maintain stable housing and break the cycle of poverty.
The Madison features community development through LifeSTEPS. Programming includes educational classes, adult services, afterschool programs, resource information, case management and emergency assistance. See our event calendar for the latest LifeSTEPS events and classes.
Life STEPS programs include:
LifeSTEPS has established a proprietary curriculum in core areas. Other classes are taught within one- to three-session workshops. Examples of educational classes are:
- Career Paths – Discover Your Career Interests and Skills, Wow Them with Applications, Cover Letters and Resumes, Networking Tips for Your Job Search, Nailing Your Interview
- Chronic Disease Management – Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Arthritis, COPD, Chronic Kidney Disease, Depression, Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure
- Computer Skills, Aging Well with Tech
- Health Access – Talking to Your Doctor, Choosing the Right Medicare Plan for You, In Home Supports
- Healthy Lifestyles – Disaster Preparedness, Volunteerism, Sexuality in Later Life, Stress Less with Mindfulness, Reframing Your Perspective, Summer Safety, Seasonal Healthy Meals, Move and Feel Better: Go 4 Life Exercise
- Money Matters – Financial Fitness, Dream Big By Increasing Your Credit Scores, Bold Savings Goals, Budgeting on a Fixed Income, Fight Fraud, “Stretch Your Dollar” series on reducing expenses
- English as a Second Language (ESL)
- Parenting – How to Advocate For Your Children, Adventures in Family Reading, Homework Strategies to Decrease Conflict, Parent Self-Care
Our curriculum, created by Consult4Kids
, centers on enrichment learning in math, reading, science, physical activity, science and art. Each after school session concludes with a debriefing time in which the children share what they learned and how they will use the curriculum lessons in practical ways.
LifeSTEPS seeks resident input in developing tailored activities. With many Social and Community activities and Educational Classes appropriate for seniors scheduled throughout the month, we are able to meet the varied interests of the residents. Activities are especially important in senior communities, reducing isolation and giving residents the means to retain a sense of pride and independence while building a strong, mutually supportive community.
Unresolved disputes between neighbors can leave a property manager with no alternative but to evict both parties. LifeSTEPS has developed a highly effective mediation model that provides residents with a way to air and resolve their differences while maintaining their housing. Under the guidance of a trained LifeSTEPS social worker, residents take an active part in the mediation process by taking responsibility for finding and adhering to a solution.
This experience empowers residents and teaches valuable life skills while resolving the issue at hand. When needed, LifeSTEPS social workers can also mediate disputes between residents and property managers.
In addition to social services, the social worker develops appropriate learning and social activities at each community.
By fostering social activities, LifeSTEPS and supportive property management staff help communities build a network of support among the residents. When neighbors know each other, they are able to turn to each other when they need help.
A monthly newsletter produced by property managers, or at some locations LifeSTEPS staff, is a resource for residents to learn about upcoming activities, classes, and services.
LifeSTEPS recruits talented, dedicated volunteers to provide skilled support. Volunteers help at events such as block parties, community dinners, and holiday celebrations, activities such as art classes and bingo, and educational classes. Volunteers are carefully selected and screened, and those who work with children undergo a Department of Justice background check.
Many of our clients give back by volunteering within their own communities. For instance, parent volunteers often assist at homework clubs and craft projects. Our volunteer program not only results in more help for residents, but also allows resident volunteers to develop skills, experience and confidence that can be used in finding employment opportunities and advancement.
Everyone on the LifeSTEPS staff is expert in developing links to resources in the greater community. Rather than duplicating existing services, LifeSTEPS collaborates with other dedicated nonprofits and government agencies to bring essential services to our clients.
We promote independence for residents by helping them identify appropriate community resources and teaching them how to make contact, complete necessary forms, and follow up. If a resident is incapable of completing the necessary tasks, we actively assist them in the process.
LifeSTEPS provides case management to families in crisis, but without a reliable safety net, some families will experience loss of housing. Our agency has secured funding from private donors, foundations and corporations which is being used to stabilize and prevent loss of housing for residents.
These funds allow our agency to provide emergency short-term financial assistance to seniors, individuals and families who are experiencing a crisis like a job loss, unexpected illness, or some other event that could place their housing at risk.
When LifeSTEPS provides a short-term financial intervention, the resident is required to attend our 6-month Financial Management & Literacy program. By requiring this, we empower the resident to learn basic financial management skills that help them avoid future crises.
Case management provides one-on-one professional assistance for real life problems. Our social workers are at the property throughout the month and also maintain a schedule for appointments or drop-in assistance. In addition, residents and property managers can reach the social worker for their property by phone anytime during the week.
Referrals may be made when an at-risk resident is identified, or residents can request support directly when issues arise. Once residents get to know LifeSTEPS, they often refer their neighbors for help.
Depending on an individual resident’s needs, our social workers provide means for financial assistance, crisis intervention, and in-home supportive services. Case management can also include contacting other service-oriented nonprofits and government agencies on a resident’s behalf.
Important components of case management include realistic feedback, emotional support, and active listening for residents in distress.