Making Play Space & Moving Mountains

Making Play Space & Moving Mountains

Whether they make sure that the ground cover in the playground is safe for our kids, or move heaven and earth to help the homeless, STEP staff are stars!

Pilson Earns Playground Safety Recertification

Melissa Pilson, Office Manager for STEP’s Stuart site on Wayside Road, recently earned recertification as an Early Childhood Outdoor Play Inspector. 

The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) at the University of Northern Iowa issues the certifications. NPPS aligns with sets of standards in order to ensure safe and quality playground areas. These standards are guidelines of how to properly implement playgrounds.Those holding certifications have received training and met requirements to inspect playgrounds to national standards, including surfaces, equipment, and age-appropriate design.

Pilson first received certification as an Early Childhood Outdoor Play Inspector three years ago and recently completed the requirements for recertification. In her notification letter, NPPS Program Coordinator stated that “ . . . we believe you understand the playground safety content and know how to inspect an early childhood play environment. . . we thank you for helping keep children safe and enjoying the outdoors.”

STEP has playgrounds at its Stuart and Rocky Mount sites, where it offers Head Start and Early Head Start programs, serving about 200 children each year.

Manning Awarded for “Moving Mountains”

Brenda Manning, Director of Supportive Services at STEP, Inc., was recently presented the Mountain Mover Award from the Virginia Association of Housing Counselors.

The award is given to an individual who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to service.  Manning was nominated by her peers.

Supportive Services encompasses the homeless services and re-entry programs offered by STEP.  The agency’s homeless services program serves the counties of Franklin, Patrick, Pittsylvania and Henry and the cities of Martinsville and Danville. Its two offices, in Rocky Mount and Martinsville, field about 500 calls a month and has affected around 100 families since July 2016.

“It’s amazing that you can come to work every day and go home knowing that you have helped at least one person in some way every single day,” Manning said.

Manning, who lives in Glade Hill, has worked at STEP, Inc. for nine years, starting out as a case worker for Virginia Cares before moving into housing. She has served as director for the past three years.