Step by Step of Rochester

The mission of Step by Step is to assist women who are, have been or are at risk of being incarcerated to claim their gifts and strengths as the foundation on which to rebuild their lives. And Step by Step fulfills its mission through the various programs it offers to incarcerated women and women on the outside.

The heart of Step by Step's programming is a highly-structured eight-week workshop focusing on the life stories of women and the gifts and strengths that can be discovered and claimed in their stories.

Eight workshops are provided with various themes: self esteem, survival, relationships, following our dreams, etc.

The common beliefs that guide the workshops are:

  • Each woman has a story to tell
  • Each woman has gifts and strengths
  • The strength-based approach is more helpful in recognizing and claiming gifts and strengths, than the problem-focused approach
  • The group is an effective instrument for helping her recognize her gifts and strengths
  • Creative activities are effective ways to discover hidden talents and strength
  • Rules that govern the operation of the workshops are:
  • Each woman must participate
  • Homework is assigned at each class and is considered an absence if not done
  • No more than two absences are allowed

These workshops offer the women a structured environment for learning and self-reflection. They provide a safe environment for discussing issues of concern and provide role models of women who are leading productive lives. The workshops incorporate self-esteem building and goal setting into the curriculum.

Workshops are offered at correctional facilities and in drug court and treatment programs. Some have offered workshops at high schools for at-risk girls and are exploring the possibility of reestablishing that program. Retreats on the Spirituality of Recovery run four times a year for women who are incarcerated and also to women who are in the community who have been in our programs.

For women who have been incarcerated, we also have a weekly support group, a mentoring program and special events for the women and their families.

"Still I Rise" is a newsletter that contains writings of the women in our program and is distributed to women at the county jail and mailed to the women on our mailing list, women who have been incarcerated and are now out.

Because the best group facilitator is often a woman who" has been there" we train and supervise women who have been incarcerated and are now in recovery to co-facilitate groups.

Photo of a woman next to a piece of art depicting a human with the wings of a butterfly