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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Next Step Fund, Inc.

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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

85 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 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!

2 Sarah306

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was diagnosed with leukemia in 1990 at the ages of five. I was isolated and stigmatized by classmates and school staff alike. Not until I started attending the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp would I begin to feel comfortable with myself and speaking and smiling.

Then when I turned 16 and too old for camp, Next Step came along and changed me life. As a young adult they gave me confidence and skills I carry through my life, abs today I am able to volunteer with amazing youth!

Peg C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been associated with Next Step since it’s beginning. My daughter, Emily was one of it’s very first members, and actually attended the first retreat on Thompson Island back in June 2004. Em was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 12. She attended an incredible camp which gave her love, support and understanding like no other. When she aged out, we tried in vein to find a place for her. That was a useless, frustrating endeavor. Then wonderful Bill Kubicek founded Next Step. She was no longer alone. Next Step gave her a community when there wasn’t one. Next Step gave her the love, support and understanding she needed. Next Step, with Bill and his wonderful staff, opened another world for her, and for us. Our beautiful Emily lost her battle with her brain tumor, and passed away almost 3 years ago, but Em’s spirit will always be with Next Step. We want to share her story, so you will know how very important Next Step was to Em, and still continues to be for other young adults who are struggling and feeling very much alone.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is such an incredible organization and I'm so happy I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Face Forward retreat last summer.  Being able to witness the bonds and friendships made over those few days was truly amazing.   The population Next Step serves is so deserving. 

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization finds a million-and-one ways to bring happiness, joy, and solidarity to the young people they work with. Every time I see a picture of an event, I see a sea of smiles. It takes special people to do this work. The Next Step staff are the real deal.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Next Step is doing a hard job, but you would never know it from the joy and energy they bring to it. It takes a special group of people to make a program so full of life and fun for so many young people.

I work in a nearby office. I became a donor because I watched them work. They are special. Full of imagination, style and compassion. They do the serious work as well as anyone else. But, it is with the kids and the programs they put together, that they really shine. What other group do you know that has a huge inflatable gorilla as a mascot??

Review from Guidestar

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Next Step has allowed my fellow volunteers and I to make a lasting difference in the lives of so many teens. Their continued support has been extraordinary week after week.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NextStep is a wonderful organization that serves a very underserved medical population: young adults with life-threatening illnesses. As a physician and cancer survivor myself, I know that there are few resources for this group and NextStep is filling a huge gap in support services. It is run by a compassionate and well-educated group who are committed to their cause.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have benefited from the Next Step Fund organization both as a volunteer and as a participant. It is truly pleasing and appeasing to know that there is a such an organization as this one that deeply cares about the quality of live of the marginalized patients and patient demographic they serve. Next Step Fund is comprised of compassionate, selfless and dedicated staffers who give their all to the population they serve. Without them, these teens will feel doomed and unloved. It is great to know that someone out there cares and loves us unconditionally.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Next Step is one of the best program my daughter ever participated. We have learned so much in their two-day program. I sincerely hope that we can join its program again in the future. Thanks so much! You are the ONE!!

Daniel Szeto
Weston, MA

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Who says that when you turn 18 you no longer need support and services for dealing with cancer? Thankfully the Next Step doesn't say so. This is a vital organization for those trying to cope with illness while trying to balance the struggles of young adulthood.

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was diagnosed at 28 with acute leukemia. At that time I knew literally no-one of my age who had been diagnosed with cancer. I attended a Next Step event a couple of years after my diagnosis and it was of tremendous help to me. Sharing experiences and stories with others in a similar situation was priceless to me. I still have friends from the event and am so very and fortunate that I attended !

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

From the conception of Next Step I have observed Bill Kubicek bring together a viable program for young adults with life threatening illness .
The seasoned and creative staff is dedicated to promote and accomplish the goals of Next Step. The reviews of the retreats and activities of Next Step held in CT, MA and TX have been rave...and they are requested to return year after year. I know that the board of Next step is very supportive, progressive and strong. I am proud to be able to say "I knew about Next Step when it was learning to walk."

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a parent of a child that has had the opportunity to be part of Next Step. It is a wonderful program that supports the young adult community of patients. It gives young adults guidance and friendship from staff that understand their situation and are there to help. Just a wonderful program.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member and volunteer at the care givers weekend, I am humbled by the spirit and energy of the kids, parents and volunteers. I am proud to be a part of the Next Step organization. To be part of an organization whose mission is "to shatter limitations and elevate aspirations of teens and young adults" is wonderful.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Kathy and I have been diagnosed with three different cancers at young age. Next step included me in their young survivors group and the expereince is truly an expereince I will never forget. relationships and friends are made and these are the kind of programs that truly need to continue to be funded. Thnak you Next Step for stepping up. kathy

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a brain tumor survivor of 10 years and I had the wonderful opportunity to go to a young adult survivors retreat held by next step and had a chance to meet other survivors as well as others who are still in treatment. This was my first time attending any cancer related retreat and I truly benefited from it. I made life long friendships and got the chance to understand what life is for other survivors. I look forward to attending Next Step events in the future. The staff members are amazing and made my experince unforgettable.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I had the pleasure of attending the NextStep/Livestrong Cancer Couples Retreat in New Orleans this past November. This retreat really helped us in understanding the difficulty of each others roles during his cancer treatment. Being the caregiver I was especially relieved to have been able to meet other caregivers as well and to be able to express the difficulties in having this role freely. I also learned a lot about what my husband was going through as well. This really strengthened our marriage and helped us become stronger as whole. Being around other couples that had similar experiences was great as well. There was this certain camaraderie that was pretty unique and strengthening. To have been around couples that actually do know what you went through was a relief. This retreat was such an amazing experience.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is John Thorne and I live in Carver MA At the age of 11 I was diagnoised with a cancerous brain tumor. I had the chance to go to the next step program and learn about the wonderful work they do for diaabled people. I was able to go to CT thru the next step and meet surviors of different kinds of sickness. Being with next step people helped me forget my sickness and have fun doing outdoor activities like rock climbing zip line and walking and sitting around a fire and telling about each other progress I always have fun being with the next step people and the staff. Long live next step because they help people above and beyond the call of duty.

Review from Guidestar