Welcome to the Small Steps International website. A source for information, upcoming events and trips. You can discover how you can participate in helping children in rural New Mexico and around the world. My name is Courtney Lewis, Owner and Clinical Director of SSI.
The creation of SSI began with the desire to educate and provide emotional and psychological support to at-risk local New Mexico and international communities.
At a local level SSI began work in one of New Mexico's at-risk rural communities, Jemez Valley, NM in August 2011. I was fortunate to be born and raised in this beautiful area of New Mexico. It is steeped in a rich and beautiful history of Native American, Hispanic and cowboy culture. It has also experienced conflict, trauma, poverty and chemical dependency. The Jemez Valley is close to my heart because of all it gave to me while I was growing up and, therefore, I wanted to give back in some way. One purpose of SSI is to provide Infant Mental Health intervention, play therapy, family therapy counseling and community education to help families heal in the Jemez Valley area.
The second purpose of SSI is to develop long term relationships with at-risk international communities through direct psycho-education of child caregivers. The child caregivers are those that live with children in orphanages and their homes. SSI has traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, twice in 2012 to teach caregivers living in Maranatha Children’s Home and Three Angels Orphanage techniques that are dedicated to helping children develop the necessary neuropathways between the ages of 0-3 to allow the child to develop healthier psychologically. Between the ages of 0 – 3 the child is developing the neuropathway patterns to learn self-regulation and to connect with others. If the child does not develop the necessary healthy neuropathway patterns they struggle mentally their entire lives. The pivotal age between 0 – 3 and their connections during this time determine their ability to develop self-control, empathy and how they will connect with others the rest of their lives. In extreme cases, the lack of development of empathy and self-control create human beings that can cause damage to others.
If the child is given a chance to develop healthier neuropathway patterns, then the child has the chance to raise their own family in a healthier way. Healthier families create healthier communities and healthier communities create healthier nations. This is the motivation behind the international and rural work of SSI.
So thank you for being here, at this site, where we hope you catch the passion we have for helping children and their families!
MA LPCC RPT-S