First Step Family Support Center

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Nita Lynn Retires from First Step

Nita Lynn Retirement 6-30-22

Retirement of Nita Lynn June 30th, 2022

Who: Community and Friends of Nita
Where: Vern Burton Center, 308 E 4th
When: Thursday June 30th, 2022 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Questions: Call First Step at (360) 457-8355
RSVP HERE

First Step Family Support Center announced the retirement of its long-term Executive Director, Venita “Nita” Lynn, recently and is now inviting the entire community to a party in her honor, a celebration of Lynn’s 39 years at the helm of First Step.

Born in Shelton and raised in Poulsbo, Nita Lynn attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, graduating with a degree in Sociology. The studies, she would say, “put research, approaches, and solutions to a passion for service I seemed to be born with”. Upon her return to the Northwest she settled into Clallam County where she has been practicing that mix of research and passion-fueled service to local families ever since.

Lynn began her work with what would become First Step Family Support Center in 1983, as a home visitor to new moms and dads, teaching parenting classes, and facilitating mutual support groups for young parents. Early successes inspired her to expand First Step to reach an increasingly wider portion of the community.

In a recent note of thanks to First Step and Lynn, a parent who was visited regularly by Lynn in the late 1980’s, then living with her two babies in a decaying garage wrote “[y]our kindness and caring made me see that my children deserve the world, and that I was capable of giving that to them. You were so supportive when I had no one on my side.” After sharing a determined journey to self-sufficiency, the mom, now working in information technologies in a community bank, with children thriving in their own life journeys, closed her note saying “I just wanted to say thank you because you laid the foundation for my success, as a mother and an individual, and I can never repay you for that. At least I can tell you, what you do for a living changed my life and the life of my children.”

By the late ‘90s her work here in Clallam County was known around the State for its innovation and dedication to developing the range of resources to strengthen local families that is characteristic of a vital family support center, and known to be powerful in preventing neglect and abuse at home; in 1997 she was awarded the prestigious Governor’s Child Abuse Prevention Award.

Valued locally, as well as across the state, in 1999 and again in 2009, Lynn was honored with the Soroptimists’ Women of Distinction Award. In 1998 the Sequim Gazette spotlighted Lynn as one of its “Unsung Heroes”, and in 2001, the Peninsula Daily News reported on Lynn’s expansive work in a feature story, celebrating “the house that Nita built”. In 2018, she was honored by the United Way of Clallam County for her leadership at First Step, the wider human services profession, and the community at large.

Mid-career, Lynn earned the Masters degree in adult education and administration from the Woodring College at Western Washington University in 1995, an opportunity to take her organization-building skills to the next level for her local community. In fact, within two years, First Step began a long, exponential growth trajectory it enjoys to this day. Under Lynn’s leadership, First Step was able to add evidence-based family-support programs, services, and staff at a rapid, consistent rate, drawing funds from outside of Clallam County to the community, generating local job growth that has not stopped, year over year since 2000.

In fact, when asked about her most treasured accomplishments, Lynn is quick to note that “I’m so proud that many of our former clients are now First Step staff members—one of the hallmarks of empowering family support centers. And they’re also successful professionals in our community, running medical programs, human service organizations, tribal programs; they’re nurses, retail managers, teachers, small business owners, bankers, and more—the very fabric of our community”.

First Step now offers a range of two-generation-focused services from prenatal support, to home visiting for pregnant and parenting moms and dads, from critical support for new parents struggling with substance use disorder, to school readiness day camps for kindergarten-bound kids, and much more.

In a recent dinner in her honor, long-term First Step Board Member, Orville Campbell, called Lynn the “founder and director of our local treasure, our beloved First Step Family Support Center”, congratulating her for “nearly 40 years of innovative service to the families of Clallam County, and now Jefferson County”. Everyone in the community will have a chance to thank and celebrate Nita Lynn at a community party in her honor on June 30th, from 4:00 to 6:30, at Vern Burton Center, 308 E 4th Ave, in Port Angeles. All are welcome.

Community Connection Baby Shower Resource Fair

Community Connection Baby Shower 5-21-22

Community Connection Baby Shower Resource Fair

Who: Expecting parents, caregivers, and new families
Where: Vern Burton Center, 308 E 4th
When: Saturday, May 21st, 2022 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Questions: Call First Step at (360) 457-8355

The Community Connection Baby Shower is a resource fair to celebrate expecting and new families. Come and meet local providers, learn skills to strengthen your emotional well-being, develop social connections and tap into educational experiences that will help you along your journey into parenthood. Door prizes, free diapers and wipes, gifts for new families, free snacks, and more!

Event includes workshops such as simple and effective parenting tips, fathering topics, classes on breathwork, pelvic floor physical therapy, healthy eating, self-care, and car seat safety.

This event is hosted by First Step and the Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, in partnership with Olympic Medical Center, Mariposa House, North Olympic Health Care Network, Molina Healthcare, United Healthcare, Community Health Plan of Washington, and Obria Medical Clinics.

Check out the Event Schedule!

First Step Newsletter – March 2022 – 50 Years and Growing!


March 2022- Home Visiting Flourishes
Our fiftieth anniversary finds us reflecting upon and celebrating all that has grown at First Step in our first half century. We have stories to tell! In the year ahead we’ll hit the highlights in four quarterly newsletters, each exploring one of our key approaches to family support. We begin with the expansive growth of our home visiting programs on the North Olympic Peninsula…
View Full March Newsletter

Free Training on Perinatal Mental Health & Substance Use in the Perinatal Period


This FREE training is for Washington state providers who practice IN Clallam and Jefferson Counties through a grant from the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Learn how to effectively identify and screen parents experiencing substance use disorders.This one-day training is appropriate for a range of providers, including OBs, pediatricians, midwives, RNs, social workers, mental health therapists, doulas, public health employees, home visitors, IBCLCs, and more.

Friday, May 6, 2022 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Topics Include:
Learn about the co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders in the perinatal period.
Learn how to screen and talk about substance use disorder in the perinatal period.
Learn Motivational Interviewing skills to aid in conversation about screening and next steps for parents using substances.
Learn how to make trusting relationships with a trauma informed lens parents using substance.
Understand Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) the interventions and support options for infants and parents.
Learn about new initiatives in child welfare to better support parents accessing resources they need.

Perinatal Support Washington (PS-WA) is a statewide non-profit committed to shining a light on perinatal mental health to support all families and communities. We believe all parents should receive appropriate,timely, and culturally relevant care from conception to baby’s first birthday.

TRAINERS: NADEDJA BESPALOVA, MD & LINDA SEGUR (PCAP), VANIA RUDOLF, MD
6.5 CEUs pending for LICSW, LMHC, LMFT
6.5 Contact Hours approved for RNs
Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 17084 for 6.5 contact hours.
Registration: https://perinatalsupport.org/event/perinatal-mental-health-substance-use-in-the-perinatal-period-clallam-county/
Email questions to: training@perinatalsupport.org
PDF Version of Flyer

Home Visiting as an Avenue to Recovery & Resilience

Our Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP) is part of a state-wide program designed to help mothers with substance use disorders build lives free of substance-related problems, and to prevent future children from being exposed to substances prenatally. Our case managers provide outreach and assistance, goal-setting, problem-solving, and coaching to pregnant and parenting mothers. They connect clients to community supports such as recovery, health care services, legal aid, housing, and education. They inspire. They motivate. They believe in the women they serve.

Our PCAP program has been celebrated as one of the top performing sites in Washington State! We are expanding to seven case managers who advocate for up to a total of 106 families at a time. In 2021, we served 121 families with intensive case management and advocacy services during 1,830 home visits. We maintain a wait list that includes families in Clallam and Jefferson Counties. Our case managers work diligently in the community to provide high quality, client-focused advocacy. Our Clinical Supervisor, Christina Miko, is proud to be a part of such a dynamic team of compassionate professionals who empower women. “Case managers foster positive interactions with community partners. Their personal and respectful approaches have made them standouts in our community. When confronted with client service barriers, PCAP case managers expertly navigate challenges, demonstrating the power of partnering and modeling skills required to overcome barriers.”

Designed as an intervention from the heart, PCAP offers effective intervention as evidenced by client outcomes. We follow a harm reduction model addressing quality of life issues along with substance abuse. Our team is addressing the local addiction crisis by helping mothers stabilize. We work to build positive relationships with professionals in the community using a client centered approach.

Speaking to client success, Christina Miko notes “we have a number of clients attending Peninsula College. Some are securing their high school diplomas so they can attend four-year colleges. Others are working on the HS21+ or their associate degree (AA) and are learning to juggle academics with parenting. Witnessing the self-efficacy of these clients in navigating out of addiction and into sustainable skills for living and parenting is a testament to the effectiveness of the PCAP model. We’re honored to celebrate with clients in their achievements as they become self-reliant through education.”

“When i think of PCAP, I think of freedom. I think of practical assistance. I think of believing in other people.” -Client

National Child Passenger Safety Technician Course- Save the Date!

National Child Passenger Safety Technician Course- Save the Date

Become a Child Passenger Safety Technician

Who: Anyone looking to become a Certified Car Seat Technician
Where: Seven Cedars Resort & Training Center
When: April 25, 27, 28, 29

• Register at https://cert.safekids.org/become-tech
• Scroll to bottom of page “Find A Course Now!”
• Search for course ID: WA20220128120

View/Print Flyer

Smile Mobile at First Step in Port Angeles

We are happy to announce the SMILE MOBILE is coming to FIRST STEP! Please call 888-286-9105 to schedule your dental appointment. The dental team will see babies, children, youth, pregnant/postpartum people, and adults.
We can’t wait to see your SMILE!

View Printable Flyer

United Good Neighbors of Jefferson County support First Step in providing critical programs in Jefferson County

We are pleased to announce our continued expansion into Jefferson County with the support of the United Good Neighbors of Jefferson County. Our expansion includes multiple home-visiting programs as well as community Kaleidoscope Play & Learn groups in Port Townsend, Port Hadlock, and Brinnon. Also offered is a community diaper closet in Brinnon at the Brinnon Community Center. We hope to offer more diaper closets in Jefferson County soon!
We believe that parents are their child’s first teacher and emotional home. To support parents in their crucial role, we offer maternity support, parenting education classes, home-visiting programs, support groups, and group activities so that families have every advantage in raising healthy and happy children.
First Step is a proud partner of the United Good Neighbor’s Give Jefferson campaign. Donate today!

Donate to Give Jefferson

Care-A-Van Vaccine Clinic in Forks Oct. 7th!

Forks Care-a-Van Vaccine Event 10-07-21

Get your free COVID vaccine at the Care-A-Van

Who: Anyone 12 years and older
Where: 275 N Forks Ave, Forks
When: Thursday, October 7th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

• Drop-in, no appointment needed.
• Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson available.
• COVID-relief incentive for everyone getting vaccinated at the van.

Brochure in English
Brochure in Spanish

First Step receives $10,000 gift from Discuren Foundation

This gift will help support Kaleidoscope Play & Learn community play groups in Jefferson County that focus on child development and bonds between family and community.

Discuren’s generous gift to our Kaleidoscope Play & Learn Program will support weekly facilitated play groups for young children and their parents or caregivers in Jefferson County. Kaleidoscope provides not only group playtime, but also provides information, resources, support, and connections so that caregivers and parents have the tools they need to facilitate healthy development at home. The program is built on best practices in child development, early learning, parent education, “family, friend, and neighbor care”, community development, and cultural competence. Groups are also offered in Clallam County.