Signed in as:
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Opened in September of 1999, the mission of Steady Steps is to provide a comprehensive, quality Christian program which fosters spiritual, cognitive, emotional and physical growth and is available and accessible to all children and their families in the community. Located at First United Methodist Church (FUMC), it is open to all children, regardless of church affiliation. It offers a sliding scale fee structure to enable children of any economic background to attend. Steady Steps is governed by a Council with members including Methodist church members, community members who are not affiliated with the First United Methodist Church and parents. Amanda McMillan is Council chair. Since its founding, Steady Steps has served nearly 1,000 children.
Steady Steps Director, Freddy Sapien, a 2002 Mason High School graduate, returned to Mason after a career in business management and, in mid-2022, and stepped into the role of Director. When asked how his career had prepared him he was quick to answer, “When people ask me how I keep up with 36 children, I always say, ‘I don’t watch 36 children, I manage eight amazing ladies who do a fantastic job taking care of 36 children.’”
Sapien observed, “The generosity of the people of the community of Mason has been and continues to be fantastic.” Student tuition only covers about 50% of the cost to educate a child. That percentage shrinks for babies and toddlers, who require more supervision. Sapien concluded, “If not for the First United Methodist Church, we would not be here. They cover the building expenses, utilities and insurance for Steady Steps.”
Steady Steps is the only licensed facility in Mason County that operates on business hours. This means that parents who work a typical 8:00-5:00 day can drop off and pick up their children and work full time. Kingdom Kids, a mission of River of Life Church Gymnasium, is available two days a week and Headstart, which operates Monday-Friday, closes earlier in the day. There are home-based daycare settings, but they are limited as to how many children they can serve.
On a typical day, a two-year-old Steady Steps student will be greeted by adults, have breakfast with classmates, have circle time and learning centers, play outside, have lunch, nap, go outside for more learning and a snack and then get ready to go home. All of this is supervised by a team of caring staff with anywhere from two-to-eleven years’ experience working at the facility.
This year Steady Steps added after-school care.
Sapien stressed that he wants to offer a united front to the community in terms of options for care, “Once again this year we will partner with the River of Life in using their gymnasium for the fundraiser. We may operate from the First United Methodist Church, but the children we take care of are not only Methodist church members. Nikki Watson, Chair of the Steady Steps Council echoes the sentiment, “We are very excited about building a relationship with River of Life, as Steady Steps is a community resource. It is vital for parents, but also for our businesses so that employees can show up to work.”
If you have questions or want more information about Steady Steps or the fundraisers, Freddy Sapien can be found most days at the center on the north side of the First United Methodist Church or call 325-347-0043.
The Steady Steps Annual Spring Fiesta Fundraiser will be held on March 2nd at 5:00 p.m. in the River of Life Gymnasium. The evening features a meal catered by Nacho’s, a silent auction and a live cake auction. There is still time for businesses to donate to the auction. Tickets and auction donations are tax deductible because Steady Steps is a 501c3 charitable organization. One hundred percent of funds raised go into programs and tuition support.
Given his background in business, budgeting at Steady Steps was a surprise. “This is the first job I’ve ever had where you plan a budget with a deficit.” He said they plan for a deficit and pray that God will come through. They rely on fundraisers, private donations and government grants to keep the doors open.
Currently they have prayerfully undertaken four distinct fundraising efforts to cover the budget deficit that looms every year. In addition to the March 2 dinner, Sapien said they are selling items to raise funds: geraniums, paintings, and a new batch of Courthouse Christmas ornaments.
Accoring to Sapien, “Back by popular demand, the geranium fundraiser is something we are doing after we had many people asked if we were going to start selling them again.” Mason Bank, The Commercial Bank, Candence Bank and City of Mason office will have order forms placed in the lobbies starting Monday January 29th through March 6th with pick up being Good Friday, March 29th.
Three paintings were donated by a former Mason resident Pat Ellebracht. Bob Terrell, owner of The Mason Art Gallery, cleaned and refurbished them then placed them on display in his gallery. Two of the three have sold. The remaining work is called The Dredges of Drillin by M. Lynn. Now part of the auction, it will be on display at the Mason Bank starting in February with open bidding. On March 2nd it will be sold to the highest bidder at the Spring Fundraiser.
One of the original fundraising drives for Steady Steps was the sale of Christmas tree ornaments depicting historical sights around Mason. Originally initiated by the late Laverne Lee, the full set includes nine collectible ornaments. In memory of his mother Laverne, Robin Lee stepped in to support Steady Steps in producing a special edition of the Mason County Courthouse ornament to commemorate the 2024 re-opening of the restored courthouse.
Mason Courthouse Christmas Ornament Fundraiser
This item will be in the silent auction at the Spring Fundraiser Mar. 2, 2024.
Steady Steps serves the children and families of Mason, providing full-time, Christ-centered childcare for children ages 6-weeks through 4 years of age. A nutritious breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack are provided daily. Tuition is based on a sliding fee scale and scholarships are available. Call the Steady Steps office today to schedule a tour!
Each day your child will discover the world around them. Using all five senses, infants explore textures, colors, and sounds through play.
Toddlers learn to follow basic instructions and the foundation for potty training begins. Toddlers also benefit from imaginative play activities and time spent socializing with children of the same age.
Every day is packed with carefully designed activities to develop key skills necessary for success at the next level. While learning to follow directions, preschoolers enjoy arts and crafts, outdoor play, science experiments, bible lessons, and fun movement games.
The greatest gift family, friends, and a community can give children is the opportunity to grow with God. At Steady Steps, weekly chapel and daily Bible Circle lessons provide an opportunity for children to grow in a relationship to God.
"Steady Steps has been an answer to prayer for our family. One of the hardest parts about my husband and i both working full-time is entrusting others to help raise our children, but the staff at Steady Steps makes that part so easy as they genuinely pour the love of God into our children every day. This momma couldn't ask for any better help in raising and education her children."
"My grand kids were placed with me after my daughter passed away and Steady Steps was a safe and loving place for us all during that difficult time. We were given a scholarship to help with tuition, while we waited for Child Care Services (CCS) to provide assistance. The daily Bible lessons really helped my youngest grandchild understand the concepts of Heaven and Jesus' love; he found comfort knowing his Mommy was in Heaven with Jesus. Our family will be forever grateful to Steady Steps for the love and support that continues to be given to our family."
224 Broad Street
Mason, TX 76856
Office: (325)347- 0043
7:30 A.M.- 5:30 P.M.