Mission: Next Step Learning Center believes in the human spirit and each person's ability to learn and to change. Our mission is to strengthen Oakland families and communities through intensive, personalized tutoring and other programs in basic literacy. We define basic literacy as the tools of reading, writing, and computation needed for urban life in the 21st century. We support each person by providing a caring environment, bridges to the business and civic community, and a strong support and follow-up system.
Results: Over 500 Oakland youth and adults have achieved their GED, the equivalent of a high school education. During the past three years, 34 students and GED graduates have enrolled in a local community college and receive intensive support from Next Step.
Target demographics: Oakland youth (ages 17 to 20) and adults who have not completed their high school education.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Approximately 400.
Programs: Next Step offers Monday through Friday daytime programs in basic literacy, GED preparation and college transition services for Oakland youth and adults age 17 or older. 86% of participants are African-American. Over half are between the ages of 17 and 20. The small core staff is enhanced by the services of approximately 60 volunteers who serve as one-on-one tutors. All programs are individualized and based on each person's specific needs.
I have been a volunteer at Next Step for seven years. The staff are dedicated to the students and ensuring that they get the right match with a volunteer to help the students move forward in their education. Next Step prepares their students to take the GED. The walls are lined with photos of students who are holding their GED certificate.
The staff treat their volunteers very well.There are currently 65 volunteers that come in weekly to tutor the students. There are in-services provided for volunteers and a yearly volunteer appreciation dinner.