By Denise Doyon for The Island Connection
Photos by Linda Mecchi
Next Steps Johns Island (NSJI) is a faith-based, non-profit organization serving the needs of Johns Island, Wadmalaw and Red Top.
Its charter is to offer a hand-up, not a hand-out, by working with participants to clarify their needs and goals in an effort to improve their lives. The mentors at NSJI help each participant identify those needs and develop a step-by-step plan to achieve their goals. NSJI uses referrals and local resources to accomplish this and has been instrumental in helping its participants with VA, SSI and SSDI benefits, home repairs, public housing, FEMA claims, bankruptcy and furthering their education.
NSJI also offers special programs such as working with John’s Island high school seniors to put together life skill books. One of its recent programs involved Gullah Quilting classes with Sharon Cooper Murray. This ongoing program, done in partnership with Kiawah Cares who funded classes and donations of fabric through the Kiawah Quilting/Sewing Guild, is helping forty-two participants learn a craft that will enable them to earn money while working from home. The products they produce will be sold to an association that works to preserve indigenous cultures worldwide.
NSJI is also sponsoring Crock Pot Cooking classes, funded by the Joanna Foundation, to help educate participants about healthier cooking and eating to control diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Next Steps is looking for participants and volunteers, as well as material and financial donations. They need volunteers to help with setup and break-down for meetings, receptionists, an historian, a publicist, researchers to help populate their database of services and many more mentors. There is place for everyone who wants to help. If you would like more information, or would like to volunteer your time and/or talent, please contact Beth Condit, Executive Director at email@example.com or 843.810.1036 or visit their website at NextStepsJI.com.Tweet