“The biggest thing they did for me at Maple House was teach me how to set goals and accomplish them.”
Over the years, Stephanie has set goal after goal for herself and, as a result, has impacted so many people. With each achievement, she found herself wanting to make more of a difference for individuals, families and communities. What began as a goal to get her education and pay it forward in recovery developed into serving people in need at the local, county and now at the state level.
At the age of 16, Stephanie found herself addicted to drugs and struggling to get by. She was homeless at 18, dealing drugs and living in an abusive relationship.
“I was a meth addict. I lost my whole family. I lost everybody and everything.”
When she became a mother, she carried on with the same bad habits until forced to go into rehab to avoid prison time. Even with no drive or expectations that she would complete the program successfully, Stephanie did what she needed to do. Ultimately, it turned out to be much more than a court mandate for her. Her innate work ethic and ambition took over once she had an opportunity to see things clearly.
For almost 50 years, Cedar House has been known in the community as a “good place to start.” That was certainly true for Stephanie. Cedar House changed her life for the better by instilling hope in her, educating her on how to stay clean and teaching her to set goals for herself.
Life at Maple House with her son taught Stephanie that she needed to make some significant changes to be the mother her son needed her to be. She learned life skills and parenting skills there that she never even realized she lacked. From there, she was able to become a responsible mother and begin to see new opportunities for herself on the horizon. Setting small, manageable goals became a key part of her life.
“Little things turned into big things.”
The staff at Cedar House knew she wanted to change her life and recommended that she apply for a receptionist position there. She got the job and found herself wanting more. While working in reception and living in Cedar House’s transitional housing, Stephanie was inspired by the staff to pursue her education. She enrolled at San Bernardino Valley College and graduated with her Associates Degree in Human Services in 2008.
“I didn’t have a lot of opportunities because of my record. If it wasn’t for those opportunities Cedar House gave me, I wouldn’t have been able to succeed.”
She began working for Mental Health Systems, Inc. as a case manager and regularly attending NA meetings. The turning point came when she was able to realize the potential she had to make an impact when she combined her work ethic with her empathy for clients in need.
“I believe in people. It’s great to inspire hope in people.”
At that point, she set a new goal for herself, and by 2013, Stephanie graduated with her BA in Human Services and began working for San Bernardino County as a contract monitor. In that position, she ensured that people were getting the treatment they needed.
In 2018, she graduated with her Masters in Public Administration from Cal State, achieving another tremendous goal. She moved to Sacramento this March to join a team that analyzes government programs.
The staff at Cedar House has continued to work closely with Stephanie over the years and is incredibly proud of her growth and development as a leader in the substance abuse/mental health field. She attributes much of her success to the lessons she learned at Cedar House and the faith they had in her ability to achieve her goals.