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The Next Step Fund, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

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

Mission: Shatter limitations and elevate aspirations of teens and young adults living with cancer, HIV and rare genetic disorders.

Results: Next Step has served over 7,000 deserving young people since 2001.

Target demographics: Teenagers and young adults with cancer, HIV and rare genetic disorders in New England and beyond.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 350 beneficiaries per year

Geographic areas served: New England, National

Programs: Free year-round community, music therapy and mentorship programs.

Community Stories

100 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!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I came to know Next Step through my son, a brain tumor survivor from the age of 2. He found the Next Step community to be welcoming and supportive, and as a result has changed his life’s trajectory towards success and happiness. There are magical organizations out there that can be transformative for young people like my guy.. Next Step is one of them. Reyn Parsons, Board Member.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Next Step is one of the original programs supporting young people with chronic illnesses and rare diseases transitioning to adulthood. Besides providing a sense of community and social support, Next Step is different than a "camp." They bring in experts to give workshops and teach life skills to help their participants take charge of their own lives. The programs encourage young people to step out of their comfort zones and have discussions they have never been able to have, with those who have the skills to facilitate.

I have watched Next Step grow since the beginning and will continue to support them and help them grow their audience and donor base. All young people deserve a fulfilling life, and a sense of community- regardless of their diagnosis. Next Step is leading the way with an evidenced based, peer to peer, youth driven model.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer with this group, I'm consistently impressed with the degree of creativity and engagement they get from their community. They take young adults with chronic illnesses (HIV/AIDS, cancer, rare genetic, sickle cell, etc) and not only give them tools for navigating the world as an adult, but space to meet others in their position, and develop a supporting community. Between campferences, music therapy, theater-therapy, etc, Next Step is a fun, adaptable, and incredibly useful way for people in tough medical situations to self-actualize and reach their full potential.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Next Step is an incredible organization who helps the lives of so many great young people. Although my interactions with Quita, the Outreach Coordinator, were brief her passion and drive for helping young people was strongly apparent. Thank you so much for all you do, Next Step. Keep up the great work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience at NextStep was the best volunteering experience I've ever had. Not only were the students able to learn a lot about "adulting" in the context of their disease, they also learned more about themselves and gained the courage to step outside of their comfort zone. I am very proud of my students!

Emily A. H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I recently went to an event through Next Step. I had a great time and finally felt understood. I was able to feel like a normal 20 year old despite talking about cancer because, to all of us, it was normal.

Audrey W.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

More than anything, Next Step has helped me find a safe space to my true self. Whether it is through heartache or laughter, my story is shared and appreciated. For as long as I can remember I was ashamed of who I was because of my illness. Now I can truly say that my circumstance and what I live with does not define me and I have the power to write my own fairy-tale ending.

Deanna G.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The staff at Next Step are some of the most supportive, caring, accepting, and encouraging people I have ever met! The work they do is incredibly selfless and impactful. Through a variety of services, activities, and events, Next Step has undoubtedly changed the lives of many young adults and will continue to do so.

Cindy B.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Next Step has made all the difference in my step son's life. They are laser focused on what it takes to help kids, who have suffered from rare medical diseases, navigate life. Offering skills & advocacy for how to get into college, find a job, secure housing, and most importantly gain a community that offers, for the first time in their life, companions who truly understand.

Famo D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Very loving, caring, and dedicated nonprofit organization!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Next Step community changed my life and helped me define who I really am. I now know that I am much more than my rare genetic disorder.

Chloe P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I actually give them infinity stars, Next Step is absolutely amazing! They help so many young adults find their way through a very difficult period of life. They make everyone feel so supported and at home. I know I can speak for everyone when I say, Next Step is a breath of fresh air.

Jess G.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Next step is made of the most caring and people. They help create an environment where young adult who have a serous illness feel comfortable and get answers to questions they may have. However its not all serious they know how to have fun too! If you are a young adultwho has a serious or is the survivor of one I highly recommend going to a Next Step program.

Andrew M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Next step helped me become a stronger individual when it comes to dealing with my diagnosis and living with it. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for this organization and how it’s changed me for the best.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I started coming to Next Step as a participant and after coming for a year or so I was offered an internship and really helped me to create a set of skills to help me in finding a career.

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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have taken a group of kids from Kansas City with cancer to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for the past 22 summers and watched them blossom beyond my wildest dreams as they experienced the love and support they found there. It was always so sad when they became too old to attend and no longer had such an amazing place to find the kind of support that only such a place could provide. When Billy Kubicek announced his dream of starting the Next Step for these kids I remember thinking that it was a brilliant idea and that if anyone could make it happen, it would be him. Now as I read the remarkable stories of how he has changed lives, given hope and created a bright future for a population of young people that don't quite fit into the classic "graduate from college, get on with your life" profile, I am overcome with gratitude to Billy and his staff.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

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!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Erica

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I really like Next Step, they are very attentive to our needs. When help is needed they are there every step of the way.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Next Step fosters a sense of community bound by compassion and understanding crucial to those of us anesthetized by unspoken fear. As a young adult participant in a cancer retreat in 2010, I was newly diagnosed and awakened to the strength in others and then myself. That inspiration from other survivors and The Next Step staff was quite powerful. To support The Next Step is to support the core of humanity, those of us who were/are vulnerable. Their prosperous program growth and partnerships over the years is evidence of their commitment to others where there is an absence of direct, meaningful service. I am proud to have experienced the retreat where I formed meaningful connections of friendship.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Next Step serves a population that is all too often forgotten. Maneuvering through young adulthood is difficult enough, but to navigate such a challenging time straddled with a serious illness presents obstacles most of us are fortunate not to experience. The amazing staff and volunteers of Next Step work tirelessly to help these brave young adults not only make it through, but thrive during the journey. I know the director personally, and he is one of the most selfless, hard working, inspirational men I have ever had the privilege to know. He spends weekends hands-on at workshops with the wonderful young adults who make up the population he is dedicated to serving, and days and nights relentlessly raising funds so he can help "just one more". If you want to feel the world becoming a better place, spend a day with Bill Kubicek, or volunteer at a Next Step workshop or event. You won't regret it, and you'll never forget it.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Life is full of challenges - most of us are lucky or fortunate to be healthy enough to meet these hurdles without the extra challenge of sickness. Next Step drew me to it like no other organization has or could. They do amazing life altering things for so many. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is hard enough. Next Step helps with that transition when sickness and health issues complicate. Bringing compassion, skills and an inexhaustible supply of humor, Next Step fills a void of support; it teaches people how to start living their lives and stop living their diagnosis.

My wife Rose offered me an opportunity to give back - she brought me to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in CT. From there she and Bill Kubicek gave me the life changing opportunity to help Next Step reach around the world.

Thank you,
Stephen W. Starnes - Chairman - Next Step

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter Emily as there at the beginning of Next Step, so we feel more than qualified to tell you just how very important Next Step is. When Emily aged out of her beloved camp, she needed a group, a place where she could find the support of her peers. Em’s brain tumor left her with significant permanent disabilities and medical problems. She was struggling and socially isolated. Our search for a support group was a difficult endeavor. At one group we attended, Em was the youngest there by at least 40 years. We realized there were limited programs for young adults survivors of serious illness. When Emily joined Next Step, she found support, friendship and community. It was also a great comfort to us, her caretakers. Through Next Step, we were able to access resources, and network to other young adult programs. Next Step was extremely important in Em’s life until she passed away a little over a year ago. It is vital that Next Step receives the financial support and attention it deserves so it can continue to reach out and help the many young adult survivors out there who feel very much alone.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went with my disabled daughter to a retreat weekend. I can say that these weekends are most important social events in her life. She is able to get together with people who have and are overcoming the same issues in their lives. But the most important thing for her is that she gets to play. Even though she can't climb, she can still zip and feels included. For my part, I get a break too. I don't have to prepare and clean up after every meal or activity. I get a chance to play, too. And there is little out there for caregivers.

Next Step gives us a change to pace and a time to be happy.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was my first and only retreat after finishing the cancer treatment. Having gone through this illness at this young age, kind of left me alone from my normal world and at this retreat I found that I am a part of this world too, there are people who have been through or going through what I have been through. I found my second family there. Very empowering, compassionate and stress free retreat it was. Great work done by all of them. Thank you so much and wish you all the best.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been to several Next Step weekend retreats for young adult survivors and their caregivers. These weekends are an unmatched experience because no other organization in our area provides this type of service to this population. They are restful, fun, and empowering, and are an amazing opportunity for fellowship w/ others who 'walk the walk'. Seeing someone who is wheelchair bound be team lifted to the top of a climbing wall is a priceless experience for all involved. Then. to watch them break into a full smile as they descend a zipline is the icing on the cake.
The ice breakers, fun and creative games, and singalongs, encompass everyone's needs regardless of their challenges. This is not an easy thing to pull off, and Next Step does it VERY well. You leave the weekend feeling renewed, loved, and cared for.

Review from Guidestar

Brenda L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The perfect place to meet people with your same condition, very friendly place to be when it seem that the world is coming down on you, very helpful and the people in charge are the best, i really enjoy my self. So many topics where covered , you will walk away with a lot of information, i really didn't want to walk away but got to let others enjoy too. Good luck with all.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to a retreat they did in partnership with Planet Cancer. I was newly diagnosed and lost and they introduced me to a group of patients and survivors who have become good friends. They created a supportive, informative environment which allowed me to connect with others in a meaningful way.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attend a retreat facilitated by NextStep last year and partnered with the LIVESTRONG program. It was a really great experience. It was a retreat for younger cancer survivors, which is an underserved yet vitally important population. The guidance and facilitation and program put together by NextStep was really top notch. I have made friends for life through this program. It took place an organic resort in the hill country outside of Austin. It was relaxing, rejuvenating, and really quite special. Next Step fills a void in terms of actually providing and facilitating programming for younger (18-40 year old) cancer patients and it has my highest recommendation.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My oldest daughter is a brain tumor childhood cancer survivior. The tretments that she recieved saved her life but also took the life that she should be leading. She has been ill and disabled for the last 23 years. Her friends have moved on, her siblings have graduated college, are married and/or have careers. Denise has neither. Next Step has provided an opportunity for Denise to meet friends with similiar difficulties, to have fun and to gain information and resources. As her mom, I appreciate the time with other families and the support and caring that we both give and recieve! Special tahnaks and appreciation to Bill and his staff for their dedication, hard work and for the simple joy they bring to the Next Step experience! Mary Lou Haughney, Philadelphia, PA

Review from Guidestar

ShardeF

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Next Step was absolutely amazing! Seriously. I'm 21 and cancer often left me lonely, but at NS I met so many other yung adults who could really understand me. There was nothing forced about it. The activities covered everything I needed intellectually and socially as a YA w/cancer. I'm n the hospital having just received a Bone Marrow transplant; the wisdom of friends I met at NS helped me mentally prepare for this.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I was undergoing chemotherapy treatments, it was a difficult time for my family. My husband and I were raising two young children. We were able to attend a Next Step retreat and connect with other people in our situation. That retreat was really all I needed to help me get through the following months. We made some nice friendships and connections.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son has a attended several Next Step functions. What a wonderful organization. The functions were weekend retreats. He met new friends and reconnected with people he had know from before. It is a wonderful way for him to share his experiences and learn from others. Next Step is providing fantastic services for a population of people that would not have such services. Thank you Bill and all your staff for your tireless effort to help improve the lives of these children.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a parent of two young people with a life threatening illness. I have watched my kids, and many others, reach the difficult age when it becomes harder and harder to access resources as well as positive social experiences. As a a result of our frustration with this lack, my daughter and I became advocates on behalf of Youth with special health needs on a national level. I was fortunate to find Next Step and promptly volunteered. Both of my daughters and I were involved with the Care program and we were overwhelmed with how well this organization "gets it"! Young people with special health needs and their families came together in a recreational environment and had FUN while gaining knowledge about resources, and tips for transitioning from a pediatric health model to an adult one, as well as other helpful information. Families and youth gained strength from one another and lifelong friendships were formed. Everyone left the event with useful action steps to improve the quality of his/her life. And there were many self-esteem building actvities in the schedule which, for this population, is invaluable! I personally facilitated a discussion for the parents around resources such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Social Security, Insurance, and housing. I learned a lot myself about how things differ from state to state. I also thought it was amazing that so many activities were available that gave participants an opportunity to develop their personal strengths. I am glad that a program like Next Step exists and will continue to support and make referrals to this fine organization!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After volunteering at The Hole in The Wall Camp and becoming more aware of the problems these kids have in life I was thrilled to learn about Next Step . Life goes on after 15 but very little support systems are available for these people with life altering problems. I totally support the goals of Next Step .

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of being helped by the AWESOME staff at Next Step. When I was 39, I was diagnosed with cancer. No one is ever ready to hear those words, I don't care how old (or young) you are. Next Step put me in touch with other young adults who were going through the same physical and mental feelings I was, and what I relief that was. I WAS NOT ALONE!!! What is even better is now that I am no longer considered a "young adult" they still keep in touch and actually care so much about you as a person. You are not forgotten, or just a statistic... you mean something special to them... and you make real friendships through their program. My experience was, and still is priceless!!! They will always hold a special place in my heart!!!

Review from Guidestar