A Step Ahead E-Newsletter February 2019

Fund Development

Items needed for the upcoming Auction

Who do you know….

Do you know of a vacation spot that is just amazing? Or a timeshare that is beautiful? Do you have a friend that can offer an incredible “experience” either on a boat, helicopter or in a plane? Do you have a friend that can offer a gift certificate?

If so…we are looking to YOU to help us secure some great items for our Silent and Live Auction!

A Few ideas:

  1. Do you know a Pilot? How about a one-hour private plane flight over the shore or over the winner’s house. Take an aerial shot of your home!
  2. Do you know someone who works or owns a restaurant? How about asking for a donation as a gift certificate?
  3. Do you have a connection somewhere? How about asking them to provide a good or service as a donation? (Salon, Barber, Spa, Café, Car wash, massage, etc.)
  4. Do you know a musician? How about music for your next party?
  5. Do you know someone who play’s Santa? How about reserving him for next holiday?
  6. Know a Wine OR Beer connoisseur? How about getting some limited-edition beverages for a devoted wine or beer lover!
  7. Do you know a News Anchor Person or someone who works for T.V./Radio? How about a Behind-the-scenes tour?
  8. Season Ticket Holder???
  9. Know a fisherman? How about fishing trip for 3-4 people?
  10. Do you know a chef? Private dinner for 4?
  11. Know someone at the City? How about arranging a behind the scenes tour at the 911 Command Central?
  12. Know someone who owns a Pet Day Care? How about a doggie pamper day?
  13. Know someone who has a house near the Ocean? How about a get-away for a weekend?
  14. Know someone who is writing a novel? How about becoming a character in their next book?
  15. Enjoy Tee Time? How about Golf Lessons and Beer?
  16. Have a friend who wants to donate Signed Memorabilia?
  17. Do you know a firefighter or a police officer? Ride Home in a Fire Truck: a lucky kid gets picked up from school for a special ride home in a ladder truck or police car!

Please contact Michelle Smith michelles@asapc.org for questions or pick-up arrangements. Thank you for all your support!

Strategies: From our Speech Therapy Team

To help your child become more attentive to speech and language, our team of speech/language pathologists (SLPs) often suggest holding items near the face while saying the word of the object.  For example, the caregiver holds a ball to the side of his face while he says “ball.”  When the child attends to the movement of the caregiver’s mouth while listening to the word, the concept of a ball is understood, and it will be easier for the child imitate the word.  As this strategy is used consistently, the child will learn to pay attention to the caregiver’s face and connect what is said with the name for objects then attempt to imitate new words.


Call the Family Health Hotline 1-800-322-2588

We can help you understand and apply for a variety of food and health resources in Washington state, including:

  • WIC (Women, Infants & Children Nutrition Program)
  • Basic Food (Food Stamps)
  • Health Insurance for children, pregnant women and adults
  • Birth control through the Take Charge Program
  • Health and family planning clinics
  • Developmental screenings
  • Pregnancy and baby supplies
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Food banks
  • and much more …

We’re available Monday-Thursday 8:00-5:30 and Friday 8:00-5:00

  • Bilingual staff speak Spanish
  • Other languages are served using interpreters via AT&T Language Line
  • No quotas or time limits, so we can talk as long as you like to connect you to the services you need
  • We can screen you and start applications over the phone or provide you with information and a quick referral—it’s up to you!

Tax Assistance

United Way of Pierce County, in partnership with Associated Ministries is committed to moving families to financial stability. We want families to keep the money they have worked so hard for and make the most of their tax return. There are two ways to get help with taxes.


One of the ways we are helping families do this is by connecting them to free tax preparation and tax credits that are available to eligible families.  For households making less than $66,000 a year, they can access MyFreeTaxes.com to file their taxes for free. The site provides easy, fast, secure federal and state tax filing online through software partner, H&R Block.

Local Tax Assistance

South Sound 2-1-1 is also partnering with Pierce County Asset Building Coalition to provide tax help for low-income families. For households making less than $54,000, they can get free tax assistance and file for free at one of 20 sites throughout Pierce County from late January through April. Volunteers will prepare client taxes free of charge, determine if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and find other credits to boost their bottom line. To find a site near you, dial 2-1-1.

Meet Our Staff

Nellie Ward, EI Coordinator

Graduated in 1997 from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work. My first professional position after college was as an Independent Contractor with DSHS. In this position I transported foster children to and from counseling sessions and to visits with their bio parents where I also provided supervision. Also, as an Independent Contractor I provided long term in-home care to two children who had significant developmental disabilities.

I was in this position for about 2 years before I went on to take a position as a Family Support Specialist in a long-term drug and alcohol residential treatment facility for women and children (ages 0-5). I provided parenting support to the women as well as assisting with daily living skills. I was in this position briefly before moving into an administrative position at the same facility as the Adult Case Manager. My responsibilities were to assist the residents with applying for benefits, secure permanent housing for after treatment, connect them to resources for clothing, legal support, and education. I was in this position for 9 years before I moved into the position of Family Resource Coordinator at Pierce County Human Services in 2008. I was an FRC at Pierce County for 4 years and then moved to Puyallup School District where I continued as an FRC for 5 years. I transitioned into the position of EI Coordinator at A Step Ahead in 2017 and have enjoyed the culture and collaborative atmosphere here. We are lucky to have a fantastic team of like-minded professionals who always have the needs of the children we serve on the forefront of their minds. In my spare time I like to run with my children, roller skate, and lift weights!

Harmony McNelley, M.Ed.

Harmony began her adventures in the field of special education after she began nannying for a family who had a toddler with autism while a freshman in college. She underwent training and become an ABA therapist for the next four years.  In 2000 she graduated from WWU with a BA in psychology. She then went on to attend UW graduate school and worked as an assistant teacher in the EEU integrated kindergarten, preschool, and Baby DATA Project.

She graduated from the UW in 2003 with a master’s degree in Early childhood special education and was hired by Auburn School district as a special education kindergarten teacher.
After having twin girls in 2010, she stayed home with her twin daughters and 4-year-old son. In 2013 she found a new home at ASAPC; where she does eligibility evaluations, IFSPs, and cherishes her time working with children and families in their homes and in the community.
When not at work, Harmony enjoys exploring the PNW with her children, reading, paddle boarding, yoga, and spending time with her friends.

Reetu Singh, PT

Reetu is an Early Intervention Physical Therapist and has been working in the field for just over a year. She is very early on in her career but brings experience from working with children with special needs during graduate school and post-graduate continuing education courses, such as NDT, to the families she serves.

Reetu loves being able to educate her families and feels a sense of fulfillment after each therapy session. Outside of work, Reetu loves cooking, going on long walks, and traveling to new places.