First Step Breaks Ground on New Facility

Agency Invites Community to Join Congressman Norm Dicks in Celebration of First Step’s Next Step!

(Port Angeles, WA) – First Step Family Support Center (www.firststepfamily.org), a United Way partner agency, will hold their official public groundbreaking ceremony for their new facility on Tuesday, April 14th at 11:00am at 323 East 6th Street, Port Angeles.

2009 will mark a year of significant growth for First Step, their clients, and the community.  The retirement of a loan on the current First Step facility (325 E 6th Street, Port Angeles) and the subsequent purchase of the adjacent lot (323 E 6th Street) have presented a tremendous opportunity for the agency to increase their capacity to provide for the healthy development of families and children in the community.  The groundbreaking will celebrate major construction on the new 4,174 square foot community services facility.  The expansion will feature a much-needed infant and toddler childcare/early learning center, parent meeting and training rooms, a family reading & literacy center, a kitchen, and confidential counseling offices. This will substantially increase the agency’s capacity to expand current programs and to initiate new ones that the community has identified as fundamental for supporting and growing successful families and healthy children.

Participants in Tuesday’s groundbreaking include Congressman Norm Dicks, USDA Rural Development, First Federal, the Washington State Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development (CTED), the Whatton Family Fund, and many others. Immediately following the groundbreaking, a celebration BBQ will be held.

Facility funders include the First Step Board of Directors, CTED, the Medina Foundation, the Norcliffe Foundation, the D.V. and Ida J. McEachern Charitable Trust, the Seattle Foundation-Benjamin Phillips Memorial Fund, the USDA Rural Development Childcare Program, First Federal, the Whatton Family Fund, the Albert Haller Foundation, Safeco Insurance, Nippon Paper Industries-USA Co. Ltd, and other local businesses.  The project is also supported by contributions from countless individuals and local service clubs. In addition, the agency’s recent Midnight In Paris fundraising gala raised over $32,000 to be used for the facility. Finally, during the groundbreaking, Aglazing Art Studios will initiate the sale of First Step logo tiles to be painted by purchasers and placed inside and outside the new facility.  Tiles are available for $10 and $25 and all proceeds will benefit the new facility.  For those unable to attend the groundbreaking, tiles can be purchased by calling Aglazing Art at 477-9957.

The project’s architect is Lindberg & Smith Architects (Port Angeles) and the general contractor is Hoch Construction, Inc. (Port Angeles). The facility is expected to be completed in November 2009 with full occupancy expected in December.

The agency has provided support and education services to thousands of local families as part of the agency mission to promote the successful development of children and parents in low-income families for over thirty years.  In 2008, their staff of dedicated professionals served 4,478 primarily low-income adults and children.  The goal of the agency is to provide innovative and family-centered programs to meet the needs of parents and their children in a respectful and responsible manner. First Step believes parents are critical to young children as they are their child’s protectors, first teachers and emotional home.

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