Center for Strong Families on a mission to help with financial stability

When 2021 Bonney Lake High School graduate Stephanie Otero-Texidor was unexpectedly laid off from her job at a private daycare, she also thought she’d lost opportunities offered by her employer to go to college to study education.

That’s when the Sumner-Bonney Lake Center for Strong Families stepped in to help.

The center offers employment coaching, financial coaching and screenings for income support through various benefits programs. Since Stephanie wanted to work part time while going to college, Employment Coach Luan Watts helped her find what worked with her schedule. 

“She helped me by looking at part time jobs. She helped me apply for college. She helped me create cover letters,” Stephanie said as she shared her story at the Sumner-Bonney Lake Center for Strong Families ‘Financial Opportunity Center’ Open House on Wednesday.

The Center for Strong Families is a collaboration among the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District, Sound Outreach, and United Way of Pierce County, thanks to funding from Kaiser Permanente and Pierce County

“With the Center for Strong Families, it's all about helping families earn, keep, and grow their income,” said United Way of Pierce County President & CEO Dona Ponepinto.

Of clients who received bundled coaching services with the Center for Strong Families, 

  • The average starting wage is $20 per hour
  • 64% improved their FICO credit score
  • 41% decreased their debt

Financial and employment stability at home can also help students in school. 

“When there is less stress at home, there's less stress for kids at school,” said SBLSD Superintendent Dr. Laurie Dent. “What we've done in this district is we've made a promise to every kid that you will be known, valued and supported, ready to graduate. And the Center for Strong Families helps us fulfill that promise.”

When Stephanie shared that she was studying elementary education at Pierce College and was in the middle of applying for a paraeducator position, the crowd burst into applause. 

Asking for help can be hard, but Stephanie encouraged people to reach out to the Center for Strong Families.

“There are so many things to help you – the only thing you have to do is ask for help,” she said. “I started very low but I'm aiming very high.” 

The Sumner-Bonney Lake Center for Strong Families is located at Sumner-Bonney Lake Family Resource Center, 1508 Willow St. Portable 706 in Sumner. For more information, visit or call Sound Outreach at (253) 593-2111.