Published in Federal Way Mirror
When Stephanie Taylor experienced a family tragedy in 2016, she did exhaustive outreach to mobilize a support network and meet her family’s needs. It was a complete success.
“I saw two things right away: people were so willing to help, and there was a need much greater than my own.”
So she established as a sole proprietor to help disadvantaged people in her community, working at a grassroots level and often using her own money.
“I was homeless at the time! That surprises a lot of people, but homeless people are often very generous, and the community is very supportive,” she says. “Once I graduated from college I felt confident enough to start looking for partnerships, and collaborate with likeminded people.”
So Port of Support & Pathwayz to Success was born, with the goal of having long lasting impacts on disadvantaged populations.
“All of our board members have lived-experiences; we’ve all needed support at some point,” Taylor says. “I’m going to keep innovating. I’m currently completing my Masters program, and implementing things as I go.”
Port of Support & Pathwayz to Success aims to help local residents meet immediate, basic needs. They focus on youth aged 13 – 24 and disadvantaged community members of all ages.
“The purpose of our organization is to connect the dots for disadvantaged populations. Needs are always changing, but we’re going to keep growing our services,” Taylor says.
- Emergency Rental Assistance (When funds are available)
- Gas & Motel Vouchers
- Tents and Sleeping Bags
- Support Groups
- Resume Building
- Mentoring Programs
- Much More
“As we’re providing this support to the community, we also need support to continue offering these services. I’m rigorously writing grant applications to fund more services, and partnering with other nonprofits like the Seattle Foundation, United Way and Building Changes. Donations are always welcome.”
One of those partnerships is with IRONAID, the charitable foundation of IRONMAN. Taylor is an IRONAID Athlete, and P.O.S. is distributing IRONAID face masks to local homeless populations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
March 13, 14 and 15: Giving joy through huggable bears
“Children soak up stress from everyone around them, and it has been a stressful year!” Taylor says. “Hugs are a way of healing, an excellent method of processing stressors.”
So this March P.O.S. is delivering hundreds of huggable bears and toys to low income children and children with special needs ages three to 12, living in King, Thurston and Pierce County.
Plans are also in the works for a Juneteenth event, and Taylor is inviting people with lived experiences to share their stories. She hopes that by addressing the social and economic structures that hinder black and disadvantaged communities, Port of Support and Pathwayz to Success will create lasting change.