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Client Stories

At STEP, we understand the unique
challenges that military families face.

We hope these stories will inspire you to support our mission and

join us in helping those who have sacrificed so much for our country.


Jeffery, an active duty Navy E-6, with 18 years of service reached out to STEP after a referral from Navy Marine Corps Relief Society.  He and his family of five had been focused on eliminating their debt by closely monitoring expenses, tightening the grocery bill and purchasing only essentials. This tactic was working! Then the transmission on the family's only car failed and he was uncertain how to pay the $2,000 repair bill and still stay on course for debt reduction. Working together, the social worker and the service member revised the family Personal Finance Plan with a goal to be debt free within one year. STEP provided the family grocery gift cards of $350, and a car repair grant of $2,000 to the auto shop on behalf of the service member.

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Tyler, a Navy E3, and his wife, were determined to dig themselves and their family of 5 out of debt. Their efforts were nearly derailed when their car broke down during a visit to family in Arizona. They faced the daunting cost of towing their car back to San Diego. With a phone call to STEP for help, a Social Worker stepped in to offer guidance and support. The family created a personalized budget, tailored to their needs and financial goals. With a clear plan in place, the family was equipped to implement a strong savings & debt plan. STEP provided essentials, back-to-school clothes, and a grant of $2,477 to repair the car. With guidance from the social worker, the family stuck to their budget, built up their emergency fund, and continued to pay down their debts.


Kevin, a Navy E6 veteran found himself in a difficult situation. Due to a clerical error, his PTSD diagnosis was not recognized as combat-related, causing a delay in his disability benefits. With his wife's lower pay during the holiday season, the family fell behind on bills and struggled to make ends meet. Thankfully, there was hope on the horizon. STEP offered financial counseling with a social worker, who designed a personal finance plan that fit their needs. STEP issued a grant of over $7,000 to cover past-due mortgage payments, the SDGE bill, and grocery gift cards. The social worker also connected the family with additional community resources.