Culinary Arts Program

Opened in 2012 and originally located in the heart of Detroit’s Eastern Market District, STEP’s Culinary Arts Program has now moved to two different locations: “What’s Cooking in Westland” at St. John’s Episcopal Church and “Cooking in the D” on Connor in Detroit. This program helps integrate individuals with a developmental disability or a mental illness into the community. Led by a licensed chef, the program educates the participants on a variety of healthy lifestyle topics, including proper eating habits, food prep and clean up. Each participant purchases items from local food and produce vendors, prepares a meal with these items, and enjoys lunch while celebrating their achievement. Five days each week, adults with developmental disabilities head to one of the programs for a day full of planning menus, shopping for fresh ingredients, cooking and enjoying a meal together. For some of these adults, they are learning about nutrition and cooking to prepare them for a career in the food industry. For others, they just enjoy cooking, the company and eating.

Art Program

STEP has installed an Art Education program to service each Resource Center. The program goal is to improve communication skills for the consumers to improve the quality of their lives and their potential for productive work skills. The program fosters independence by acknowledging
accomplishment, practicing motor skills, developing critical thinking while learning and adhering to process. The program puts a great deal of focus on learning the fundamentals of communication through art: color theory, shape, pattern, perspective and content. As our program matures we are introducing
concepts of craftsmanship, the pride of complete ideas, as well as, admiration for the accomplishment of others. The weekly program offers a chance for young artists to experience self-expression and also work in a structure that will give them the opportunity to exhibit and possibly profit from their work. We are so pleased to announce we are taking our Art Program even further with the opening of Progressive Art Studio Collective, an art and design studio, and gallery program, dedicated to supporting STEP consumers to advance individual career paths in the art and design fields. We believe this new program will bring focus to the talent, expression and life experiences of disabled adults and make a considerable change in the quality of our consumers’ lives. PASC will be the first progressive art studio in Detroit and Wayne County, and will join an international network of successful peer studios. Please click here to find out more about this program and how you can be a part of it.


The Downriver Employment and Activity Milestones (DREAM), is a community activity and volunteer program for developmentally disabled adults. The object of the program is to give individuals the opportunity to not only access their community, but to become involved. Each individual has the opportunity to choose what they wish to experience on a daily basis. This can range from community inclusion to volunteering and investigating the types of employment in their community. Participants are
not only encouraged to do activities in their community, but to engage the public at large. The DREAM program promotes life and social skills through various community activities such as bowling, Wally Ball, exploring local parks,
fit club, library access and special events. DREAM volunteers can also be found at
Gleaners Food Bank, Meals on Wheels, local churches and animal rescues.

Volunteer Sites

STEP is involved in bringing clients to a number of volunteer sites for activities meant to better their community as a whole. These places vary from The Light House Mission, Wayne Public Library, Meals on Wheels, St. Vincent de Paul, Belleville Library, Focus Hope, and more. The tasks performed in each of these places can vary, but it is always with the goal of creating a personal connection between people and the communities that they live and work in.