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2018 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: 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!

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

Nick B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the good fortune of spending a day with Next Step's One Love Project. The passion and energy with which Bill and Rena work is truly inspiring. The One Love Project youth that we worked with were incredibly smart, open, honest, and engaged, however it took some very skilled facilitation from Rena and Bill to draw out these talents and behavior. I watched the room transform from a group of still slightly sleepy young adults (it was early on a Saturday morning) into a full-fledged passionate brain storming session because of Rena and Bill, their leadership skills, and the amazing respect that all participants showed toward the staff and each other.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Next Step brings awesome experiences to individuals who are or have been through a difficult time in their lives. The work of Next Step provides unforgettable memories.

Review from Guidestar

Gregory M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Bill and the Next Step crew are awesome all the way around ,the energy and the fun they bring to the table is really amazing , I can't imagine going through cancer treatment without them

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was blessed enough to have participated in several Next Step events including a weekend away at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. The connection I was able to make with other adult survivors was so therapeutic and inspiring. It was incredible to hear each individual's stories and to see how cancer has affected and changed their lives forever. I think Bill Kubicek's passion and dedication to improving the lives of cancer survivors is something to be celebrated. If I won the lottery tomorrow, Next Step would be sure to get a huge donation on my behalf.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

We have interacted for years with Bill Kubicek and support his organization's wonderful work with teens and young adults with life-threatening diseases. Without his support, these teens would not receive the attention or services they so desperately need. We give him high recommendations for his work and the efforts of the entire organization.
Joe and Liz Corcoran
Impact Performance Group, Inc.
Wellesley, MA

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

Nikki L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was fortunate enough to work with Next Step on a corporate community service project. I am thoroughly impressed with the programs, dedication of the staff and general heart that goes into Next Step. It was brought to my attention that babies and adults with life-threatening disease generally have a huge amount resources/support available to them but teens and young adults do not. It's hard enough being a teenager going into young adulthood. Recognizing there was a gap in support and stepping up and filling in that gap is nothing less than angelic. I've heard stories and seen the stories through video of kids, many of whom were born with these diseases, who have been positively affected by Next Steps programming - life changing! Wish there were more orgs like Next Step.

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2007, as I was completing my fourth round of chemotherapy for leukemia at the age of 29, I was sinking quickly into a depression. The nurse practicioner suggested that I attend an upcoming retreat run by Next Step. I was skeptical - but went anyway.

That weekend changed my outlook on my disease, my journey, my future, and most importantly left me with lifelong friends who understand what it is like to live with a diagnosis, treatment and the frailty of life. Bill Kubicek and his staff were welcoming, and quickly took a group of young adults from being strangers to being family.

Next Step was an intregal part of my recovery from leukemia.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a parent of two very special girls. The both have a chronic illness that will follow them for the rest of their lives. When they were younger we discovered the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. This place was unbelievable, but then as the girls grew up and "aged" out of camp we were lucky enough to stay in touch with "Next Step's" founder, Bill Kubicek. This program has fill a void where nothing else can compare. We discovered an organization that will be there for the girls as the become adults. It provides all sorts of programs that allows them to still enjoy their lives and provide the many answers to questions they face growing up with a chronic illness.

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was fortunate enough to discover Next Step while in my first remission from cancer and was lucky to attend one of their retreats in Boston, MA. I really didn't know what to expect and it turned out to be a great experience that has produced some great friends and supporters. Having cancer at a young age can make you feel isolated and confused about the future. Next Step provided the right situation and guidance to meet, share, laugh, and learn from others with similar struggles and make you feel like you weren't alone. The team was amazing! They made everyone feel comfortable and were very understanding and caring and provided a great atmosphere to talk to others who "get it". I'm so thankful for the entire experience.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Next Step is an exemplary organization that makes it possible for young adults with devastating illnesses find hope. Their programs/retreat provide opportunities for these young adults to network with others, challenge themselves to new possibilities, and to find out that anything is possible. All the Next Step staff are wonderful professional individuals who are with this organization because they care and seek to make the lives of young adults with many challenges better. I have seen first hand at my attended retreats with survivors of cancer, how they foster the self esteem and success in young adult cancer survivors who otherwise would never have believed "they can do it." (ROPES and ART).

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I witnessed the vision for Next Step evolving more than a decade ago, as Founder Bill Kubicek wrestled with how to continue serving a population of seriously ill children who were fast becoming young adults. We worked together at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. His dream has become a healing reality for thousands of teens and young adults battling serious illness. Today, Bill and his staff are a resource for this population of young people throughout the country - both in service and in education for the care providers. I am deeply moved and inspired by Next Step's authentic quest to improve lives by creating healing communities and teaching concrete and valuable life skills. They have my lifelong support.
James Canton, CEO The Hole in the wall Gang Camp

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an extraordinary non-profit! I am the mother of a 17 year old female, who has aged out of the camp she had attended for many years. She has a rare, genetic bone disease that affects only 1 in 2 million individuals worldwide. Her muscles are turning into bone, forming a 2nd immobilizing skeleton. There is currently no treatment or cure for this disease. She, like anyone her age, has a great need to socialize, be accepted, respected and loved for who she is, to feel good about herself, gain more independence and confidence for the rest of her life. I believe Next Step is indispensable to further her success and happiness in life. All the staff are incredible individuals, professional in every sense of the word, yet extremely fun to be around. How can it be any better than that? I wish there were more places in the world, available to her. It doesn't cost anything. Next Step is a gift to her and a huge blessing in her life!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended a young adults cancer survivors retreat that Next Step facilitated, and I was blown away. The Next Step personnel on-site were amazing - they made us all feel welcome and as if we were family they hadn't met yet. They were professional (with regards to sticking to the agenda for the retreat) and yet allowed us to proceed organically, taking the cues from us on what the group needed to heal emotionally. They also provided us with free time activities to let us essentially be kids again, giving us the freedom to express what was in our hearts and on our mind. Overall, I couldn't be happier\with Next Step, and I hope to be able to attend another retreat soon.

Heather A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a young adult who is battling brain cancer. I have been on a few of the Next Step retreats and I find these retreats in one way or another to make me stronger. The people that you meet are really unbelievable and they also make you feel better about yourself knowing that your not the only one. I would highly reccommend Next Step to anyone.

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

Attended at cancer survivors retreat where Next Step staff were the facilitators. They were well prepared and provided a wonderful weekend to a group of people whom have been through the worst that life has to offer. Smiles were all around, and we all left feeling that we could face our lives with strength.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a clinical social worker who has had the privilege of working with youth over the last 25 years, I have been awestruck by the work One Love has undertaken. Recognizing the tremendous unmet need of the HIV/AIDS population transitioning to adulthood, the program encompasses the essentials; instilling hope, nurturing growth, developing youth leadership and building on the talents and skills of this remarkable population. The creativity, energy and unconditional support the staff lends to their programs make Next Step an invaluable resource that needs our continuous support.

Review from Guidestar

one lung

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a young survivor diagnosed with plureal Mesothelioma. I atteneded a retreat through Next Step for young cancer survivors. I learned so much in the 3 days I was there. I was able to connect with others that were going through exactly what I was. I was dealing with an identity crisis. I was having a hard time reconnecting with my husband, having feelings of survivor guilt. I had no idea that these were common issues with other survivors. I was able to open up and share my feelings with people for the first time that knew exactly how I felt! I was able to listen and hear others share similar issues. The retreat also provided an atmosphere that was relaxing and enjoyable. I still keep in contact with friends I have made, and we can still continue to help each other get through difficult times. I also met a awesome friend that I visit and meet up with through out the year. This program is very much needed and so much appreciated!!

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of Next Step since the very beginning. It has been exciting to see the growth of the organization over the last ten years -- how it has adapted and changed to meet the needs of its constuents, and yet remained true to its core values and promise. As a volunteer at Next Step weekends, I have seen first hand the unique and life-changing work that Bill and his team do. Next Step truly is a one-of-a-kind organization with a great soul -- and is truly making concrete and dramatic changes in the lives of the amazing young people that it serves.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at One Love for the past two years. i have personally seen the benefits of youth participating in this amazing and one of a kind conference. It provides them the space to meet other youth that share their experiences, to develop leadership skills, have a voice, have fun, and not feel alone. One Love provides something that no other program for youth living with HIV provides, a skill set that will help them through out their lives to not only survive this deadly disease but to flourish, be leaders, advocates and supports for others like themselves and in the name of all youth living with HIV.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Being part of Next Step has been one of the most wonderful things of my life. Next Step has helped me in so many ways. Everything from gaining self-confidence to realizing my faults, and even helping me finally see what i want to do with my life. Next Step has guided me in the right direction in all aspects of life. I love Next Step and Next Step loves me!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 3

"1loveproject/Nextstep"has given the youth all over the world reason to live despite the life threatening diseases they are facing.And i believe with enough ssupport we shall see more of "1loveporject/Nextsteps' wonders.LETS DO AWAY WITH THE FEAR OF LIFE TREATENING DISEASES IN US AND SAVE THE GENERATION TO COME WITH "1LOVEPROJECCT/NEXTSTEP".

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

One Love/Next Step is a story about leadership through peer-support, life-enrichment through guidance, universality through international outreach. and public health through individual impact. Wonderful, inspiring, and constructive.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have seen the One Love project in action and it is unique and wonderful. With critical support from Next Step, One Love has been able to create a model of service and support for a highly vulnerable population that has been otherwise sidelined. These services are effective, efficient, innovative and have begun to be replicated in other communitites beyond MA. The results that Next Step is supporting via One Love show every promise of making a lasting difference for clients.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Next Step without a doubt changed my life and my marriage.
I was a 27 yo breast cancer survivor trying to figure out how to go back to normal after treatment. Bill Jessica and the crew taught me and my husband how to deal with everything from lasting side affects to my incessant need for control since diagnoses. They allowed us to meet with other survivors/caretakers going thru alot of the same issue we were.

Its an amazing feeling to know youre not alone. I didnt realize how much I truly needed next step until they found me.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Next Step provides valuable services to a large population of young adults whom live with effects of Cancer everyday. What many people do not realize is that Cancer affects your life completely, financially, mentally, physically, and socially. One of the many services Next Step provides is retreats for Cancer patients and survivors. Retreats, provide you opportunities to meet incredibly amazing people, learn about yourself, you click instantly with others, no one is an outcast, or made to feel different because you have Cancer.

Even though Cancer is horrible, and evil, Next Step provides the sanctuary for healing, learning, and kinship that Cancer patients and Survivor often never get to experience. I am fortunate to have benefited from Next Step's program and I look forward to meeting more souls that are equally as beautiful in the future.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a young adult cancer survivor who was diagnosed with stage four Sarcoma at the age of 26. The programs through Next Step helped me connect with other cancer survivors my age and gave me the opportunity to learn new things about myself. Their programs are sooo important and provide a much needed outlet for young adults with cancer. Being a young adult with a life threatening disease can feel really lonely, through Next Step's programs I have been able to talk about my unique circumstances with people who understand. I know I'm not alone anymore.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

Getting access to quality medical treatment is only part of the problem for young people suffering from AIDS, sickle cell and cancer. They need personal support to cope with these debilitating diseases too, and that is what Next Step does really well. Whether it is the 1-1 tutoring and mentoring that the Strive program provides for teens with sickle cell, Face2Face’s retreats and workshops for young adults with cancer, or the support and education that One Love gives to young people suffering from AIDS, these programs make a difference! The friends and relatives that care for young people struggling to cope with these diseases need help too, and that is where the CARE program fits in. I am very proud to support what Next Step does. I also appreciate the way they use my money – 80% of it goes to the programs.

Review from Guidestar