Stephanie’s Story of Success

Stephanie is a single mother to a 12-year-old son named Rylan. When Stephanie talks about her son her face lights up with a mother’s unmistakable love and pride. She says that he has been “an inspiration from day one”. As a toddler, Rylan was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and Stephanie quickly realized that he would need all the love and stability she could provide to give him the best future possible. Stephanie made the life changing decision to parent Rylan on her own, as his father was unable to provide an environment that could support his son’s special needs. In her words “I wanted to be able to totally focus on Rylan and his needs.”

Since then Stephanie has dedicated herself to providing the supports Rylan needs to thrive, while at the same time carrying out the difficult task of providing for the two of them on her own. Raising Rylan has been a true labour of love for Stephanie, but it certainly hasn’t been easy. Non-verbal until the age of 8, Rylan needs constant support and a lot of resources. She gives so much, there is so little time to take care of her own needs. Stephanie has sacrificed a lot and the way forward has sometimes been difficult and discouraging. Those frustrations, and the negative judgments that are so often made about single parents have sometimes been really damaging to Stephanie’s optimism and self-esteem. And that is where 1Up comes in.
Stephanie and Rylan have been part of the 1Up community for 7 years – she says “I could not have gotten to where I’m at without the support”.

At the Centre she says she immediately connected with other single parents and the 1Up team, understanding that she was “part of something special.” 1Up is important in their lives, offering practical support and a safe refuge where they feel a deep sense of connection and belonging. Stephanie believes you need to be “the change that you wish to see in the world”, and offers support to other families at 1Up. Inspired by the 1Up community, her goal is to create a centre of support for other families whose children live with special needs, ideally a farm that offers animal therapy. There is still hard work ahead, but Stephanie now has a sense of confidence and belief in herself that will carry them through.