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Every Day Counts

If you ever need more proof that every day is special, simply type “weird holidays” into your search engine. Don’t think there’s much to celebrate in January? Well, apparently National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is January 31st. Armed with this knowledge, you can now save a bit of every package you get during the holidays to pop your way through an obscure celebration in the new year.

The young people of Stepping Stones come here for many things, including encouragement. When they need reminding that every day counts, they need look no further than the monthly calendar on the bulletin board. Peppered among important meetings and program events are days of celebration that they may never have heard of, but give them something to look forward to. Sometimes these days are just opportunities to have some fun. Last month, on Back to the Future Day we dressed up as Marty McFly and Doc Brown. Other days expose them to new experiences–they tried Indian delicacies on Diwali and helped make Chilaquiles on National Tofu Day. Whenever possible, we honor the days that hold more resonance for the Stepping Stones mission, such as Youth Confidence Day.

Here’s some of the days the youth will find on the November calendar:

November 4th: Community Service Day. Today we celebrate the power of giving back to our community. This is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the dozens of volunteers who devote their time to ensuring that Stepping Stones continues to provide service to the community’s most vulnerable youth. Also, many of these youth are eager to spread good will and participate in community outreach through H.E.A.L.

November 7th: Job Action Day: Some of our youth are still looking for a job, whereas others are hoping to move on to something better. Find a job you love is the mantra we will be chanting this month as our youth attend a job fair and a resume workshop.

November 15th: Entrepreneurship Day: Many of our youth have big dreams for starting their own business. Our workforce development programming plans include a small business incubator that we are hoping to launch soon.

November 16th: International Day of Tolerance: Let’s be clear–every day is tolerance day at Stepping Stones, but on November 16th we remind ourselves why it is so important to our mission to maintain a safe space for everyone. Most of our youth have endured some form of prejudice in their lives, especially homeless stigma. This day of reverence is particularly important for the many youth who have become homeless because of intolerance against their identities. This is a major day for LGBTQ youth.

November 17th: Unfriend Day This one may not sound very nice, but the intentions behind it are important. This day encourages people to remove themselves from toxic relationships. Many young people stay in unhealthy, even abusive living situations simply because they fear becoming homeless. Drop-in centers like Stepping Stones help such people see that they have other options.

November 18th: National Housing Day Finding housing is the core goal for all of the homeless youth of Stepping Stones and we have been overjoyed to celebrate two move-in days in the past few weeks. It is always a special day when a once homeless young person finally has a place of their own.

November 23rd: Labor Appreciation Day takes into account the many people who work tirelessly at labor-intensive jobs to keep our community running smoothly. Most of the youth at Stepping Stones work at jobs that fit this description. Our wish for this year is that some of the youth who apply for jobs on the Job Action Day will have had their first day of work by the 23rd!

November 25th: International Elimination of Violence Against Women Day According to the ACLU, 50% of homeless women report fleeing abuse, and in their New England-based study, 92% of homeless women experienced violence at some point in their lives, including more than one third who were assaulted during their period of homelessness. Unfortunately, for many of the young women at Stepping Stones these are not just statistics, but their lived experience.

November 30th: National Personal Space Day Recently, Jack and Stella both got apartments. This was huge for both of them. Jack spent much of his childhood in a group home, and Stella had immigrated to the U.S. before bouncing from one adoptive family to another. Neither of them really ever felt at “home” even before they wound up sleeping in cars and couches. Now that they are housed, they are happy to no longer be homeless, but what they really gained for the first time on their move in days was a personal space of their own.

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