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February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

Having worked with children with life threatening illnesses for many years, I was thrilled when Next Step came on the scene. Finally an organization that recognizes that challenges stay with young people into adulthood! They need the support all the more as they work to achieve meaningful and independent lives. As a donor, I am always informed about what my dollars are actually doing. I have received calls from Board members and newsletters and emails full of real stories and indications of Next Step's growth and evolution. I live on the West Coast and tend to fund locally, but Next Step is such a standout organization in its mission and passionate leadership that I made an exception. I'm so glad I did!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I know first hand the challenges young adults with life threatening illnesses face and Next Step is filling a much needed void.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

No major changes.

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

Throughout the year, I take time to volunteer for Next Step. Specifically, I've had the pleasure to volunteer at the Care Dependent weekend. We come together for 72 hours to laugh, share, play and heal in an opportunity cherished by all involved. Many of the participants suffer from the debilitating aftereffects of having cancer as a younger child. Through strokes, tumors, surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation, these young adults are no longer able to live by themselves and must rely on their caregivers for the rest of their lives. Next Step provides these weekends to participants for free and creates an experience that they (and I) cherish. Their innovative programming, activities, and structure helps families share resources, knowledge, and love.

In addition to those weekends, I have interacted heavily with the organization staff and the Executive Director. I find them extremely professional, fun, passionate about their cause, and generally lovely. I look forward to every interaction I have with Next Step and think the work they do is amazing and necessary.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Access to participants, user reviews, return users

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase volunteer opportunities, more specific training and engagement of volunteers.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

We have known Next Step's founder, Bill Kubicek, for more than 20 years. We first met him at Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, where he was the assistant camp director. Bill started his own program to serve the needs of young cancer survivors as they aged out of the camp program, the "Next Step" in their lives. We feel blessed to know Bill and the wonderful staff at his programs. He is a big part of our lives. My daughter is a brain tumor survivor since 1982. We look forward to the Next Step weekends to learn from other patients and caregivers, and to just have fun! Kara's Mom

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Weekend events and a fundraiser

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Move it closer to my home

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

Hi, my name is Paul and I have three children with Sanfilippo Syndrome.
We had the honor of being guests at one of Bill's weekend retreats. Immediately we felt part of the group. Often when we go places we feel judged but as a part of this community we felt the love and caring from Bill and
his volunteers.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

We were able to relax and enjoy time with our children

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't. It worked very effectively for us

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

My name is Teri, and I am the 10th woman on my mother's side of the family to develop breast cancer. I was 31 years-old at the time of my diagnosis, which is the same age my mother was when she died of the disease. We are a BRCA1 family, and this seems to be my heritage.

Before the
diagnosis, I was working full-time as a teacher and caring for my daughter who was 9 months-old at diagnosis and my husband. We had recently purchased a new home and were making the place our own when we got the news.

It became nearly impossible trying to raise a daughter, nurture a marriage, undergo drastic treatment and surgery, and work full time.

I eventually went on disability, so that I could finish chemotherapy, and I struggled to keep up with the rest of my responsibilities.

While there was much joy during that time of my life, there was also much hardship. In particular, marriage was difficult. My husband fell apart, and in some ways, I felt like a single mother raising our daughter.

It's funny: no one tells you how hard a cancer diagnosis will be on your marriage. I mean, when I went to support groups for breast cancer, the women were post-menopausal, if they had children, the children were grown and out of the house, and if they were married, the husband was usually retired and able to concentrate on helping the wife sustain treatment.

Not me. I was an anomoly.

That's when I heard of Next Step. They were planning a couples retreat through Planet Cancer. It was a retreat where a person could rebuild a relationship in the face of cancer.

It's funny because of course the marriage needs help. Both partners are given this diagnosis; it wasn't just me.

During that weekend, we met other couples who were struggling like us. We engaged in various activities, and we normalized our situation. We weren't alone. We weren't the only ones dealing with such issues.

I am really glad that I went to the retreat with my husband. It was a turning point for us, and now we are building a wonderful relationship--one that is better than before cancer.

Thanks for your powerful intervention. I hope you can continue to offer your services to others in need.

Sincerely,
Teri Fuller

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my marriage.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to expand the programs and offer them to families as well as couples. Many of us have children, and it would be great to have a place to go where the whole family could heal and bond.

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

Three out of four members of our family are cancer survivors. What we know from our expereince is that community and family matters. Next Step provides both a community of support and family of caring adults. The war against cancer is fought in the hospitals and clinics, but the battle is fought by having a caring community with you along the way. The Next Step Fund, Inc. is that community for many young people and their families.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have followed the work of Next Step Fund.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would provide additional financial and human resources to support their good work.

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

My work in the field of comprehensive cancer control planning has made me realize how often there is a gap between pediatirc and adult care and services for pediatric cancer survivors. When I tell people there is an organization that recognizes those needs and exists to do something about, they are surprised and thrilled.

The services provided by Next Step are vital. Good luck and keep up the good work.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing needs of teenage campers

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Provide more opportunities for their work to be replicated.

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

I am a young adult cancer survivor & have been blessed to have attended 2 Next Step retreats. The 1st one was for young adult cancer survivors only. I cannot say enough about this retreat. There were 25 of us, with different cancers, different stages of treatment/survivorship & to be able to share a whole weekend with people who understood was…priceless. We could talk about what we went through, were going through & how we truly felt about it. We didn’t have to “be strong” & act like everything was great. We also didn’t have talk about cancer at all & still knew what the other was going through & feeling. Every emotion out there; happiness, sorrow, grief, guilt, hopefulness, helplessness…..etc. I have made friends for life! We all stay connected through different social networks & encourage & inspire each other daily. No one can understand what we’ve been through, except those, our own age, that have been through it themselves. It was a much needed self healing & self renewing weekend for all of us. The 2nd retreat was a couple’s retreat for young adult survivor & their partner in LA. This was exactly what my husband & I needed. To be able to get away from it all & spend it with other couple’s that knew the struggles & strain cancer can put on a relationship. To be able to relate with other couples that have been through what we had been through & to hang out with them was so amazing. We have good friends that we hang out with, but it is not the same, especially for the caregiver. I was so happy my husband had the opportunity to meet other caregivers/spouses & be able to talk with them, bond with them & form friendships with them. For us to able to do this as a couple really brought us closer together. It gave both of us an outlet to talk, vent & share with others & it gave us time to just be together. Not have to worry about money, debt, fertility & most importantly Cancer. I cannot say enough about the Next Step retreats & how they have truly changed my life for the better. The staff & volunteers are so great! They are very kind & helpful but they are more than that, they are passionate about what they do & very genuine. They welcome us all into their lives with their arms & hearts wide open, no hesitation, no feeling sorry for us or making us feel like we’re less than we are. They are there to help us shine, help us grow, help us live again & show us, through their actions, that helping others is a key to happiness! I love them, I thank them & I would hug them all right now if I could!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

attending 2 retreats.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change anything!

February 27, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 27, 2011

I have served the Next Step Fund organization as a peer mentor and as one suffering from an ailment. The organization is comprised of passionate and dedicated staffers who are giving of themselves so sacrificially and fight for the marginalized in society. This is a wonderful organization in every way imaginable. It is one of a kind. It is a great to have kind hearted people in the world who still care and advocate for the sick and often poor and deprived.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Creating more awareness about my disease and helping to raise funds in a wine tasting event by talking about my experiences living with the disease.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't make any changes as they are a perfect model for other organizations.

February 25, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 25, 2011

Next Step is an incredible organization that provides retreats and services to young people with cancer. I attended a weekend retreat as well as receiving local wellness services. The organization and the staff are all incredible. I was given what I didn't know I needed but they clearly anticipated.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

During the retreat I learned how to use artistic expression to deal with some of the challenges of post cancer diagnosis. I was able to use this to start a number of new projects that have been incredibly fruitful for me.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Next Step is doing exactly what it needs to be doing to fulfill its mission. It already incorporates self evaluation techniques and quality review. It is functioning at an incredibly high level.

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

-Administrative/Office assistance
-Grant research
-Photography
-Teach educational workshop centering on a professional field to youth at one of our programs
-Assistance at special events (wine tastings and Falmouth Road Race)