The idea for STEPS Pathways College was conceived to address a growing gap in the needs of people with a disability and their families.
We found that while many people with a disability had the capacity to learn the skills that would see them living independently, there were no educational programs available in which students could learn these life skills in a way that would transform their approach to life.
This reality of low-level services and supports was concerning for parents who worried what would happen to their children with disabilities when they were no longer there to care for them. They worried there weren’t enough of the right opportunities for them to show their unique abilities and talents and take their place as a natural part of society.
With the idea of a purpose-built college to fill this gap, but no option for government funding to establish one, STEPS instead found support from the community.
STEPS Charity launched the STEPS Pathways College campaign in early 2016, partnering with the local community to build a facility in Caloundra that would accommodate both day and boarding students. The plan included specialised accommodation where students could learn skills like cooking, cleaning, budgeting and more while living in their own units that reflect future independent living.
Local builders Murphy Homes jumped on board, and alongside STEPS Charity rallied an expansive group of local tradespeople, suppliers, businesses and individuals who donated $1.3 million in goods and services, working together to build the iconic, modern campus.
All levels of government were highly supportive of the project as an innovative solution to the disability housing crisis and a positive step in improving the lives of people with a disability.
The first cohort of students were welcomed in May 2017 with the official opening of STEPS Pathways College taking place later that year on November 24. Local MPs attended along with the many who had supported the College’s construction, students and their families.
Since then, the College continues to grow with a future expansion now in the works. Its holistic learning model taught by skilled staff combines an intensive training program and actual living experience to equip the young adults with the confidence they need to take charge of their future.
We cannot thank our major sponsor BA Murphy Contructions and Murphy Homes enough for their support of this campaign.
And to everyone who helped make our dream a reality, we are incredibly humbled and grateful!
“STEPS Charity cannot thank Murphy Homes and the generosity of local contractors and suppliers enough. Murphy Homes have been instrumental in moving the project forward and we would be nowhere near starting if it wasn’t for their expertise and support in making it a reality,” Carmel Crouch Managing Director STEPS Group Australia said.
STEPS Pathways College has been developed entirely from funds donated by the local community. We can truly say it’s “the College the Coast built”.
“Whether it’s disability, injury or illness, there’s not one person who hasn’t been affected by it. What you and I can do and what people with disabilities can do are at times worlds apart, so we say make a difference when you can – your life’s not that bad,” Ben Murphy, General Manager Murphy Homes.
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