Children thrive, families survive.
“Children are not a distraction from more important work.
They are the most important work.”
~ C. S. Lewis
Mrs Toby Walzer, mother of two charming sons with autism, did not know she had the strength
to face her challenges. But her resolve — and chutzpah — was unquenchable.
So when her sons were climbing the walls and hurtling bucketfuls down the stairs, she knew
it was time for more than just the 9 to 3.30 school day.
Toby secured the 7am slot at the local swimming pool and climbed into a cabbie at the crack of dawn with four more boys like hers.
And as the sun rose that morn, the innovative charity Step by Step was born.
Her phone rang off the hook. Apparently other mothers of children with special needs were buckling under their emotional and physical overwhelm.
Toby enlisted fellow doer Mrs Feigy Schisha, and they set up a schedule of sports and activities to keep these charming but challenging children stimulated whenever schools were closed, while granting their families respite and the chance to ‘just be’.
Step by Step in Numbers
children turned away over fees
parallel full-day Sunday clubs
enriching day trips a year
after- school sports sessions a week
days of holiday playscheme a year
hours of after-school care per child a week
volunteers sharing the love
hours devoted by volunteers in 2019
value of volunteer time per annum to the charity (based on London Living wage of £10.75).
Today Step by Step supports 150 families. We are the only local special needs out-of-school Jewish charity:
- To meet the cultural needs of the local Orthodox Jewish community
- To work with the local authorities
- To serve as a preferred Short Breaks provider
Our hub is open every day of the year, including after school, Shabbat + Jewish holidays, the week before Passover, summer + winter holidays, with divisions by age and ability to best meet every child’s needs.
Imagine a world where parents and siblings hold out their arms in excitement to welcome their special sibling home every evening?
That’s what happens when you share our burden. You enable the family to rejuvenate and enjoy a few hours of undisturbed bonding — sans accidents, flare-ups, meltdowns — to be ready to face the music again.
Step by Step’s mission is to grant every young person with disabilities a happy, productive childhood and to support their families with respite breaks.
Step by Step’s vision is of a community where children and young adults with disabilities enjoy a wide range of enriching experiences with their peers and where their families are well supported by respite services.
Step by Step’s center is a haven of joy and relaxation. It boasts two large activity rooms, a fully-equipped music room, a sensory room, a soft-play room, a garden, a kitchen and accessible WCs.