Dear Visitor,

Through all the ups and downs that families go through with having a child with special needs, me being one of them, I felt it was so important to find our silver lining. It was from this humble, grassroots beginning that Stepping Stones for Stella was created. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit Organization, whose mission is to provide children with disabilities the freedom to access the great outdoors through the use of our Buggies.

The love of the outdoors that our family has enjoyed was so important for us to continue. As a parent of a daughter with special needs (Stella has Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy) I realized that we are rewriting the script of the life we “thought” we were going to have, but through this journey, I have grown. Because I realize, that rewriting the script, although hard, is also pretty amazing. It has opened my eyes to things I am not so sure I would have seen before.

Through our nonprofit, I have dedicated myself to making sure that families continue to enjoy the activities they love and remember that although they may need to rewrite the script, they can still find a way to live a life without limits.

Happily,
Nicole Puzzo 

Our Leaders

Nicole Puzzo: Founder & Executive Director

Nicole’s early career started at Head Start as a family Service Worker and then transitioned to the for-profit space where she became a Project Specialist at Genzyme in Cambridge, MA, working to coordinate and implement programs around their patients. She has spent the last ten years raising her two daughters, one of which has Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and is tirelessly fighting for her daughter’s healthcare and making sure she is receiving the best possible care.  Nicole graduated from Bridgewater State College with a Degree in Social Work and Psychology and currently resides in Swampscott, MA where she enjoys going to the beach with her family and raising money through running road races for children with disabilities.

Stephen Puzzo: CFO

Stephen is a Mergers & Acquisitions Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Boston MA. He holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Connecticut and a Masters in Taxation from Northeastern University. Steve enjoys snowboarding, running and spending time at the beach with his wife Nicole and their two daughters.

Scott Banda: Business Advisor

Scott is the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Bostik, Inc in Middleton, MA.  He holds a BS in Marketing from Bentley University and a MBA from Northeastern University in Boston. He currently resides in Charlestown, MA with his wife and two daughters and enjoys skiing, golfing and spending time with his family.

john BANDA (jack): design engineer

John was a Plant Manager and Design Engineer at GemGravure Co for 45 yrs.  John attended Boston Technical High School and Wentworth Institute of Technology. John enjoys spending time with his family and eight grandchildren.  He keeps active by traveling, skiing playing golf, tennis and fishing.

Allison Stoll:  PT, DPT: Pediatric Orthopedic Advisor

Ali is an Orthopedic Physical Therapist in the outpatient clinic at Spaulding Rehab Hospital in Charlestown, MA. She specializes in treating orthopedic issues of the lower extremity. In addition to treating patients, Ali is the coordinator for Spaulding’s Adaptive Sports Program in Boston. She graduated from Gettysburg College with a BA in Exercise Science and went on to get her Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Mass General Hospital Institute. She enjoys being active in her free time and loves running, biking, and hiking, but you can always find her on the beach during the summer!

Sarah Marston: General Counsel

Sarah has been a practicing attorney for over 19 years. She was employed by one of the largest law firms in Boston, Bingham Dana & Gould (now Bingham McCutcheon) for six years where she practiced corporate litigation. Sarah also worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Robert B. Collings, a federal magistrate judge in Boston. For the past seven years, Sarah has worked as a family law attorney at Koiles & Associates in Salem, Massachusetts. Sarah received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University in Boston. Sarah is committed to serving her community and holds various school and board positions, including as school council member, secretary for the local youth soccer board and registrar for her children’s ski race team.

Emily McCavanagh: Events & PR Coordinator

Emily has over 15 years’ experience as a marketing, sales and events professional. Her love of sports, outdoors and fitness provided her with the opportunity to work on brands like Saucony, Timberland, K2, Nalgene, and Lucy. Her recent adventure began in 2009 when she left the Advertising & PR world to commit herself to helping people live their best life. She currently owns F.I.T.- Fitness Inspired Training whose mission is to educate, challenge and encourage people of all fitness levels to become FIT for life by implementing healthy, sustainable habits. She provides community based fitness programs throughout the North Shore that are affordable, achievable, & convenient.

MELISSA STERN: EVENTS COORDINATOR

Melissa has over 20 years’ experience in Media Buying, Media Planning and Event Coordination. She has developed and implemented media plans for clients such as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Northeastern University, Staples, AT&T and Talbots. She has led and coordinated many fundraising efforts, including two terms as Co-Chair of the JFNS Women’s Division Choose to Connect Event, two terms as Co-Chair of the Jewish Rehabilitation Center (JRC) Annual Meeting,  Co-Chair of the JRC Jr. Auxiliary Fundraiser, and Co-Chair of the Stanley Elementary school Capital Campaign. She has served on the board of the JFNS Women’s Division and on the board of the Ad Club of Boston. Melissa enjoys skiing, running and spending time at the beach with her husband and two children.

Our Partners

Our partners have been integral to our growth. They believe in our mission, and their support helps us reach families in need.

Stepping Stones for Stella is a nonprofit organization started by our family, inspired by our daughter whom has CP to help her tackle both surf and turf.
— Nicole Puzzo