Our Story – Timeline
Dave Smith, our founder and CEO, promised his mother on her deathbed that he would help his niece and nephew get a college education without incurring any debt. At the time, he didn’t have the slightest idea how to pull off college without debt, but being a man who’s devoutly committed to his word, Dave eventually figured out how to make good on the promise; his niece and nephew graduated from college without debt.
Along that journey, Dave gained knowledge, insight, and became so proficient in the process that he decided to help other families achieve the same results. A business was born where Dave helped families one-on-one, navigate the course to college and beyond without going into debt. He even wrote a book about his process which he titled College Without Student Loans.
Two things happened – one was the realization that human skills were an integral part of what made the difference in one’s life-long success and the other was the need for making the process available for more people than what was possible in a one-on-one model.
The obvious answer to reaching large numbers of people was to use technology via a website that could deliver Dave’s process anywhere and at any time. Obvious but not simple because no one had ever done it.
That’s when the real journey began – searching for the perfect platform and the right combination of software packages to bring Dave’s message to life. This was around 2016 and during this process the message/process was distilled into the STEPS Program.
Based on the acronym S – Self-Esteem, T – Time Management, E – Emotional Intelligence, P – Problem Solving, & S – Service to Others, a series of Human Skills lessons were developed that correspond to grades 9 – 12 in high school which involve the whole family.
The lessons, which are based on a micro-learning model, can be accessed 24/7 on a smartphone, tablet, or computer and consist of an overview, short video lesson (3-4 minutes), a review/quiz to reinforce the message, talking points to aid in family communication, and many contain downloadable additional resources. Each lesson requires approximately 30 minutes to complete.
The SAFE Steps is now positioned to help hundreds of thousands, if not millions of families, across America to obtain the skills that aren’t available in our current educational system. These Human Skills will help ensure their life-long success regardless of their chosen career path.
We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.
To fulfill this, we aim to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level. These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us ensure that the website is accessible to all people: blind people, people with motor impairments, visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and more.
This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs.
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level constantly. This application remediates the website’s HTML, adapts Its functionality and behavior for screen-readers used by the blind users, and for keyboard functions used by individuals with motor impairments.
If you’ve found a malfunction or have ideas for improvement, we’ll be happy to hear from you. You can reach out to the website’s operators by using the following email
Our website implements the ARIA attributes (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) technique, alongside various different behavioral changes, to ensure blind users visiting with screen-readers are able to read, comprehend, and enjoy the website’s functions. As soon as a user with a screen-reader enters your site, they immediately receive a prompt to enter the Screen-Reader Profile so they can browse and operate your site effectively. Here’s how our website covers some of the most important screen-reader requirements, alongside console screenshots of code examples:
Screen-reader optimization: we run a background process that learns the website’s components from top to bottom, to ensure ongoing compliance even when updating the website. In this process, we provide screen-readers with meaningful data using the ARIA set of attributes. For example, we provide accurate form labels; descriptions for actionable icons (social media icons, search icons, cart icons, etc.); validation guidance for form inputs; element roles such as buttons, menus, modal dialogues (popups), and others. Additionally, the background process scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate and meaningful image-object-recognition-based description as an ALT (alternate text) tag for images that are not described. It will also extract texts that are embedded within the image, using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology. To turn on screen-reader adjustments at any time, users need only to press the Alt+1 keyboard combination. Screen-reader users also get automatic announcements to turn the Screen-reader mode on as soon as they enter the website.
These adjustments are compatible with all popular screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA.
Users can also use shortcuts such as “M” (menus), “H” (headings), “F” (forms), “B” (buttons), and “G” (graphics) to jump to specific elements.
We aim to support the widest array of browsers and assistive technologies as possible, so our users can choose the best fitting tools for them, with as few limitations as possible. Therefore, we have worked very hard to be able to support all major systems that comprise over 95% of the user market share including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge, JAWS and NVDA (screen readers), both for Windows and for MAC users.
Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible. Still, we are continually improving our accessibility, adding, updating and improving its options and features, and developing and adopting new technologies. All this is meant to reach the optimal level of accessibility, following technological advancements. For any assistance, please reach out to