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New Logo Unveiled!

As the agency prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, a new logo was unveiled on July 1, 2018. A very special thank you to the Rockford Chamber’s Leadership Rockford Group who spearheaded the logo project and suggested our new tag line, “Improving Lives One Step at a Time.”

Celebrating Employees

Stepping Stones held its Employee Appreciation Dinner on June 23, 2018. The festivities were held at The Capital House in Rockford. Fifty-one employees were recognized for their efforts over the past five, ten, fifteen, twenty and twenty-five years. Kim Bailey, HR Manager and Wes Patten, Quality Assurance, were recognized for their 25 years of service. In addition, fifteen employees received special recognition for their “Above and Beyond” efforts at the agency.

Pictured here are our 25-year award recipients, including Sue Schroeder, Nikki Delmore, Brad Mullen, Judy Erickson, Lisa Seward, Christina Overton and Buddy Mayes. Congratulations and thank you to all our employees.

Fundraising, Grants and Donations

Over the past few years, many individuals, groups, service organizations and local companies have made generous contributions to Stepping Stones. What a difference they make as we fulfill our mission. Thank you to those who have helped us fundraise, those who approved grants and to those who have made donations. Contributions, grants and donations include:
Fresh Horizons Coffee (June 2018), fundraiser toward purchase of rocking chairs
Chipotle (May 2018), fundraiser toward purchase of rocking chairs
Portillo’s (April 2018), fundraiser toward purchase rocking chairs
Rockford Cosmopolitan Club (April 2018), $750 award to purchase new CPR/First Aid equipment and supplies
Candle Crest (December 2017), donation as their non-profit agency of the month
Walmart (December 2017), $500 award toward purchase of Chromebooks
Kris Swanson, former Stepping Stones Employee (November 2017), donation of piano
Rockford Cosmopolitan Club (April 2017), $2000 award toward purchase of Chromebooks
Google (March 2017), Complete G-Suite domain
NAMI Northern Illinois (October 2016), “Raise the Roof” donation for “Raise the Roof” campaign
• “Raise the Roof” Go Fund Me campaign (June 2016) raised donations totaling over $7,000

Fighting Stigma, Raising Awareness

On May 17, 2018, more than fifty clients and staff boarded a charter bus and headed to Springfield to take part in the Mental Health Rally. The trip gave participants the chance to talk to representatives, listen to speakers, ask questions, give testimonies and rally at the State Capitol. Fighting the stigma of mental illness and raising awareness of mental health needs in the State were emphasized as part of the rally.

Drink Coffee, Raise Money

Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee? Fresh Horizons Coffee Company, a local business, is helping Stepping Stones raise money. This fundraiser, started in April 2018, allows people to support two local businesses while enjoying a great cup of joe. Place your order at

Trauma Informed Care and Rocking Chairs!

Stepping Stones is raising funds to purchase rocking chairs for our living facilities as part of our Trauma Informed care initiative. In March 2018, a heavy-duty, specific brand chair was identified as the perfect chair to use at our living sites. Our goal is to secure 25 rocking chairs. If you’d like to donate, please click the DONATE button our web page. Through others’ generosity, we’ve already secured three chairs.

Agency secures CARF certification

Stepping Stones successfully completed their Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) Survey in March 2018. In addition to accreditation for the various mental health services provided, the agency received certification as Health Home. This adds to the agency’s areas of expertise, which also includes Criminal Justice certification

Stepping Stones Staff Present at National Conference

In March 2018, Sue Schroeder, CEO and Donna Addison, Agency Trainer, presented at the Credible Behavioral Health 11th Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. The presentation, “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know” reflected on lessons learned during the implementation process. The presentation provided insight into the importance of CEO involvement,  illustrated “lessons learned” during the implementation process,  emphasized the importance of understanding high-level configuration, stressed the value of open communication, and offered ideas regarding sustained staff excitement.

New Electronic Health Record Implemented

Credible Behavioral Health and Stepping Stones teamed up to implement use of a new electronic health record on November 1, 2017. Stepping Stones is the first agency in Illinois to implement use of Credible’s system. Credible provides clinical, scheduling, billing, form management, eRx, eLabs, mobile capabilities, reporting and business intelligence modules. Founded in June 2000, Credible is based in Bethesda, Maryland and services care providers throughout the United States.

Stars of Light home at Stepping Stones

Stars of Light found its new home at Stepping Stones in November 2017. We were very excited to have this theatre troupe make its “headquarters” at our Main Office. Stars of Light is a program that uses dramatic and visual arts to promote recovery, educate the public about mental illness and reduce the stigma that surrounds it. They enhance the quality of life in our community and across Winnebago and Boone Counties with artistic products that educate as well as entertain. Through the artistry of the director and participants, public fear of mental illness is alleviated and barriers are broken down to understanding and acceptance. Participants include people with mental illness and other community members. They were founded in 1995. For more information or to schedule a performance, contact Mary Gubbe Lee at 815-721-2247 or

National Trauma-Informed Care: Training for All-employees

Stepping Stones is committed to serve as a trauma informed care organization. As part of such efforts, all-staff training in October 2017 was provided by Cheryl S. Sharp, MSW, ALWF, Exclusive Consultant, Trauma-Informed Services, National Council for Behavioral Health. The opportunity to train with a nationally-known expert was made possible via a grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health. Cheryl states, “Unaddressed trauma impacts the whole person; mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. As parents, teachers and community members we can do much to support people who have experienced trauma. Trauma-informed environments acknowledge that trauma exists and that there are many pathways to recovery. By creating environments that are safe and supportive we can mitigate the extreme distress that trauma often causes.” For more information regarding trauma=informed care,

Sue Schroeder Named CEO

Susan Schroeder was named Stepping Stones’ Chief Executive Officer in February 2016. Her history with the agency includes serving as the Chief Operating Officer from 2014-2016; Director of Services 2003-2014 and Rehabilitation Supervisor from 1995-2003.Sue is a Licensed Clinical Social worker a Master’s Degree from Aurora University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa. She takes over for Steve Langley, who served as CEO for three decades prior to Sue’s promotion.

Celebrating Steve Langley

After thirty-seven years at Stepping Stones, CEO Steve Langley retirement was celebrated in November 2016. Current and previous staff and clients were present for his celebration. Steve was hired as the Executive Director in 1979, bringing to the organization a strong commitment to expanding community care options for individuals served. Did you know? In addition to all he did at Stepping Stones, the community at large and on a state platform, Steve helped found the Northern Illinois Alliance for the Mentally Ill. This organization remains active today as NAMI Northern Illinois providing education, advocacy and support for families and those affected by mental illness. Steve dedication to the agency, those served and the community at large is unparalleled. Although he retired from the agency, he’s sure to remain a familiar sight on our grounds.

Dr. Kamal Modir Retires from Stepping Stones

Members of the board of directors, staff, clients and other guests gathered at the Mildred Kral Rehabilitation Center on the afternoon of July 15th to thank Dr. Modir for his 24 years of service and wish him well in retirement. He was the organization’s first psychiatrist and helped to establish Stepping Stones’ identity.

According to CEO Stephen Langley, “Dr. Modir brought an important degree of independence and clinical competence to Stepping Stones immediately upon joining the organization. He was an experienced psychiatrist who had already worked at Singer Mental Health Center, and other hospitals, for a number of years before coming to us. This made him an exceptional choice to work with folks with chronic mental illnesses, the individuals we have always served. His experience was integral in raising our level of clinical competence and improving treatment outcomes. Dr. Modir’s tenure was a key component to our success and contributed greatly to the growth of the organization over the years. Dr. Modir allowed us to be secure in psychiatric coverage at times when so many other organizations were struggling to obtain or retain psychiatrists. We were fortunate that Dr. Modir joined us, have been blessed to have him with us all these years and have never looked back.”

Stepping Stones offers the Mental Health First Aid Course

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that gives people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.

This is an in-person training that teaches those who attend how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis.

The evidence behind the program demonstrates that it does build mental health literacy, helping the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness.

Mental Health First Aid was created in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor. Kitchener and Jorm run Mental Health First Aid™ Australia, a national non-profit health promotion charity focused on training and research.

Mental Health First Aid USA is coordinated by the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. In 2008, these organization’s worked with the program’s founders to adapt Mental Health First Aid for the U.S. and ensure the quality and standardization of the program nationwide, certify instructors to teach Mental Health First Aid in local communities and support program growth.

There is no cost for this program. If you are interested in having one of our trained instructors provide the Mental Health First Aid course to your group or organization, please contact us by e-mail or by telephone at 815-963-0683.

Announcing a CARF Three-Year Accreditation

CARF badge

We are pleased to report to you that Stepping Stones of Rockford, Inc. has been accredited for a period of three years for its Case Management/Services Coordination: Mental Health (Adults), Case Management/Service Coordination: Mental Health (Criminal Justice), Community Integration: Mental Health (Adults), Community Integration: Mental Health (Criminal Justice), Residential Treatment: Mental Health (Adults), Residential Treatment: Mental Health (Criminal Justice), Supported Living: Mental Health (Adults) and Supported Living: Mental Health (Criminal Justice) programs. The latest accreditation is the fourth consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has awarded to Stepping Stones.

By pursuing and achieving accreditation, Stepping Stones of Rockford, Inc. has demonstrated that it meets international standards for quality and is committed to pursuing excellence.

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows our organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.

Stepping Stones of Rockford, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that has been providing community based psychiatric rehabilitation services in the Rockford community since 1969.

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services.

We would welcome an opportunity to further acquaint you with our services and respond to your questions. We believe our organization is a valuable asset, and our CARF accreditation underscores our commitment to the community we serve.

Art Gallery Has an Impact!


“The Art of Recovery” show held at Stepping Stones on April 11th and 12th was a successful one. We would like to thank all the artists who submitted art work for the show that made the event possible.

The art gallery, which was part of The Rockford Area Arts Council’s 12th Annual Spring Art Scene, featured  works by individuals who are receiving mental health services.

NAMI Northern Illinois sponsored the art show. There were 49 individuals who submitted 180 pieces of art and the gallery was visited by over 286 people.

In addition to providing the opportunity for artists to display and sell their art, the goals of the show were to demonstrate how art impacts recovery from mental illness, reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness, provide a venue for collaboration with other local mental health agencies and help our community better understand the value art creation has in the recovery process.

I Think Continually

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun they travelled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

Stephen Spender






Stepping Stones to host “The Art of Recovery” show

Stepping Stones is proud to be the host site for “The Art of Recovery” show. The art gallery will be showcased at our organization’s Mildred Kral Rehabilitation Center which is located at 706 N. Main Street in Rockford. This gallery will be part of The Rockford Area Arts Council’s 12th Annual Spring Art Scene on April 11th and 12th, 2014 and will be one of thirty-seven locations featuring galleries during this year’s event.

NAMI Northern Illinois is sponsoring the art show which will feature works by individuals who are receiving mental health services. There will be a special section in the gallery for children’s art.

The show will demonstrate how art impacts recovery from mental illness and helps to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness, will provide a venue for collaboration with other local mental health agencies and will provide the opportunity for our community to better understand the value art creation has in the recovery process.

A “soft opening” will be held from 6:00-8:30 p.m. on April 8, 2014 during NAMI Northern Illinois’ monthly education program.

In keeping with the Art Scene hours, the gallery will be open on Friday, April 11th from 5:00 until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 12th from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

There is no cost for admission and some art will be available for purchase. There is parking available on-site.

Questions may be directed to Randy Roberson at 815-963-0683.

For additional information about NAMI Northern Illinois please go to

For more information about the Spring Art Scene please go to The Rockford Area Arts Council at

Stepping Stones’ CEO earns Lifetime Achievement Award

steveThe Community Behavioral Healthcare Association (CBHA) of Illinois announced on November 14, 2013 that Stephen E. Langley, L.C.S.W. was selected as recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Steve has spent his 46 year professional career in social services and the past 34 years as the Executive Director/CEO of Stepping Stones of Rockford, Inc. The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes the contributions he has made across the state during his career. These contributions include: a commitment to serving others in need of mental health care; the development of and participation in a number of community healthcare, illness prevention and neighborhood development initiatives; contributions to CBHA as a member of their board and president; devotion to expanding the programs provided by Stepping Stones; and advocacy work to expand safe and affordable housing, accessible treatment services and the fuller inclusion of all individuals, regardless of disability, in our society.  

One person contributing to Steve’s nomination said this about him, “He is a true example of what one devoted person can do with their life to make a difference in the quality of many lives. For forty-six years Steve has been an inspiration to those he works with and those he serves to give the best of themselves to others every day.”

According to CBHA’s CEO, Frank Anselmo, Steve was selected for the award by his colleagues and will receive his Lifetime Achievement award at a luncheon scheduled to be held on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 during the Association’s annual conference at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg, Illinois.

The Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois (CBHA) is a statewide not-for-profit membership organization representing the interests of community behavioral healthcare agencies in the State of Illinois. CBHA promotes the development of quality programs providing services for community behavioral health including mental health, alcohol and substance abuse, rural mental health and children and adolescents.