Save Next STEPS: A Letter from CASES Youth on the Importance of the Next STEPS Mentoring Program

To Whom It May Concern: 

This letter is on behalf of the Next STEPS youth at Tompkins Community Center in Bedstuy, Brooklyn. We are writing this letter to express the benefits of having this program and just how much it means to us. Next STEPS has helped us to find jobs and internships while helping to motivate us on a daily basis. Next STEPS creates a good, safe, positive space for us to express ourselves and be free. With mentors that genuinely care, it gives us extra support from someone we can go to without the fear of being turned away. This program has encouraged us to always do the right thing and to follow in the right path. 

Through this program we receive help with things like resume writing, filling out job applications, and preparing for interviews. Our mentors work with us to better prepare us for these jobs by leading work interviews, shopping for professional clothing, and whatever can be done to help us develop as professionals. Aside from professional development, Next STEPS has created a family and become a second home for many of us. We have gone on different outings and trips that have allowed us to escape the everyday realities of the neighborhood and get away for a while. Everyday has become a learning experience for us and through sex education, know your rights, chat no cap, and juvenile justice awareness, to name a few, we have gained new knowledge. 

Having influential role models has greatly impacted us as well. For example, Ms. Moody has influenced us all by sharing her entrepreneurship and Moody Treats business. Being able to travel to her place of business and see her hard work and dedication was a life-changing experience. There was a time when some of us had no intentions on going to our high school prom, but Next STEPS made a way for it to be possible. Whenever we are in need, Next STEPS works to help us in ways that we are forever thankful for. We are grateful to have such an amazing program with loving staff that have assisted us in getting out of our comfort zones in order to reach new peaks. Next STEPS has definitely helped to put us in a position to be independent and to be fearless in taking the next step.  



The Tompkins Next STEPS Family