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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Human Services

Mission: To shatter limitations and elevate aspirations of teens and young adults impacted by cancer and life threatening blood diseases.

Results: Next Step has served over 3,000 deserving young people at retreats and educational workshops across the country.

Target demographics: Teenagers and young adults with cancer, HIV and sickle cell disease in New England and beyond.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 350 beneficiaries per year

Geographic areas served: New England, National

Programs: Strive for teens and young adutls with Sickle Cell, One Love for teens and young adults living with HIV, Face2Face for teens and young adults with cancer and Family for our young adults who are care dependent.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Sarah50

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the Face Forward program through Next Step for the first time last summer. I have Mitochondrial Disease which is a progressive energy metabolism disorder that causes multiple organ failure. I was a little hesitant when I first got to the camp, but it was probably one of the best weeks of my life. I met so many amazing kids and after just 4 days it felt like we had known each other for a year. The staff were all so kind and awesome and the environment was incredible, very supportive, encouraging and positive. I love that there is a camp where I could go even with all my medical needs and one where all the other kids understand what it's like to live with a disease that changes your life and still keep on going and living a happy life. I made good friends who I am in regular touch with. Overall it was incredible and I am counting down till the next summer session! Face Forward gets me through the hard times!

Malphaba

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

If only there was a box to check that exceeded life changing! I am now a professional working to help youth with disabilities become empowered and educated in their own lives- specifically in the health care sector- however- I am also one of the young people that have benefited from the Next Step programs. I have seen the growth of Next Step as it came about as something to fill that void for young adults who age out of recreational programs like camps. At that fragile age of 16-20, not only do many of the resources and supports end, but so does the social interaction, recreation, and as I have sometimes witnessed- hope. Next Step supplements for all of that as it provides a community and an opportunity to both young adults and their care givers to share their stories, learn about new resources, and gain life skills and confidence. I have seen individuals grow and become more empowered in their identities and their outlook on what is possible for their future. This is what our upcoming generations need!! I know I wouldn't be where I am without it.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with Next Steps comes from many perspectives, as I work in the field of supporting young adults with serious illnesses, I have volunteered at Next Step weekends, but most of all, I am a young adult who has been served, and greatly affected by the work Next Step does.
Next Step reaches the large, significant population that often "falls through the cracks" of the systems, and social activities. Once a young person ages out of programs, or things like summer camp, it is easy to lose track of what is positive and empowering in their lives. Next Step makes sure that does not happen. I have watched as young people with what many would view as "significant disabilities" learn new skills, make friends, overcome challenges, and reach goals, all while being 100% comfortable with who they are. It's an invaluable experience to have those opportunities that so many take for granted.
The other piece that I see great value in that Next Step provides is providing support for the caregivers of those young adults who are the ones who have jumped in, when their child ages out of programs and services. This does not happen enough, and is such a huge part of taking care of the health and wellness of both parent/caregiver and young adult.
I commend all the work Next Step does, and am honored to be involved as their journey continues to grow and educate, and support more people.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have seen Bill Kubicek work magic for many years and have been in awe of the incredible programs that he has put together through Next Step. Youth transitioning from adolescence to adulthood face daunting developmental/life changes and are too often thrown out to manage it on their own, loosing services and support networks simply because of their age. For those with life threatening illnesses, this transition can be isolating and overwhelming. These programs provide youth and young adults the opportunity to find each other, rebuilding community and support networks that they can take through life all while learning and growing together. Each program is unique and truly guided by the youth involved which to me makes it stand out. There is nothing cookie cutter about Bill and his team and there is certainly nothing like these programs! These are amazing programs, being run by amazing people that I hope can grow to serve more amazing people.

Review from Guidestar

Lucinda

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the good fortune to take part in several of Next Step's programs - One Love, Face2Face and Care - as a volunteer, professional consultant and as a participant. As a cancer survivor, my wife and I attended a Couples Retreat that provided us both with very specialized support in understanding "the new normal" - how to live and thrive after cancer - and to reconnect with fun, laughter, community and hope. As a volunteer I have been invited to support the families who attend the Care retreats, working with both the young adults who are care dependent and their loving parents/siblings. During these retreats I have provided music experiences ranging from music therapy to campfire singOUTS. Each of these Care retreats is special, informative, growth-filled and community-based. I am very pleased to be part of the One Love Porject - ecstatic even! As part of the team, I have been given the rare opportunity to develop, implement and evaluate a music program that is youth-centric and specifically focused on their emerging life needs and goals. I am being supported in each creative endeavor with enthusiasm, supervision and a "go for it" attitude. I have worked with these now young adults for many years, and to be part of a program that is forward-thinking, partnership-based, about educating for healthy minds and bodies, rooted in mentorship, and progressive in their stance and beliefs, is simply inspiring. All of Next Step's programs are centered on the needs and abilities of their participants. As a community-oriented organization, Next Step has created a unqiue axis that pivots on finding solutions, demonstrating authenticity, listening and learning from the young adults, and supporting them in cultivating rich, full, heartful and hopeful lives. The staff of Next Step are compelling, learned, sincere individuals who align with - and are creating - best practices for their respective programs. Next Step is turning good on its mission, its passion and its presence. Thoughtfully and mindfully developing its reach is what will best strengthen Next Step - and doing so by continuing to make vital investments in their young adults' futures.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As a professional in the field of cancer and blood diseases, I am awestruck at the level of dedication, professionalism and expertise of Next Step's administration and staff. I have yet to hear of another program like it. Next Step is the perfect mix of poignant and purposeful programs that are connective and fantastically fun.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a hematologist who cares for children, teens and young adults with blood disorders such as hemophilia, sickle cell disease, and thalassemia. Some of these disorders were lethal in childhood or adolescence until the last few decades, so that adult medical care in these illnesses is hard to come by. Next Step has been an exceptional resource for our patients! The process of transition to adult care isn't only getting referred to an adult provider, but developing the personal skills, knowledge, and confidence to negotiate the adult care world. They are an extraordinary resource!!!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Next Steps at a LiveStrong Young Adult Alliance meeting and was immediately taken with their mission and programming, and especially the energy and enthusiasm of their Director. Next Steps then began work with an AIDS service organization that I also work with. They planned an incredible program for our teens, who had aged out of our summer camp. I am consistently impressed with the work.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Next Step is an amazing entity.
They recognized and filled a void in services provided to young adults with life threatening illnesses. Young adults without these diseases have enough challenges in the mystifying journey of self-awareness in late adolescence. There are opportunities for children to meet and interact but just when needed most, these opportunities vanish.

As a physician volunteer, I have personally accompanied 4 Next Step weekend retreats for YA's with blood disorders and been amazed at their results in a short period of time. Watching their programming allow the participants to open up at their own pace ad confront issues has been amazing. Then, with more amazement, watching them grow to learn new "adult" skills that they can take forward.

NextStep is small..... but sooo energetic and enthusiastic. I am lucky to have witnessed their work, and even luckier to have them as a resource to my patients.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Next Step provides an upbeat, affirming experience for many who feel alone and invisible. They provide fun, inspiration, hope, community!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization fills an important clinical and social gap for a highly disenfranchised and lonely population. Medicine has enable these kids to grow up, next step helps them to have a life.

Review from Guidestar