Meet Emily, our new Community Program Coordinator

We have exciting news! Meet Emily Efland, our new Community Program Coordinator! Emily joins us all the way from the Bay Area in California. She is an important part of our program team recently experienced her first Next Step Summer Campference season this year.

We recently sat down down with Emily to learn more about what she is doing at Next Step and what she enjoys during her free time. Check out our interview with Next Step’s newest staff member!

What is your job title at Next Step?

I am the Community Program Coordinator at Next Step.

What is your favorite quote?

“The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.”

How would you describe what you do at Next Step?

I design and facilitate community building experiences for the young people we support. My primary goal is to collaborate with the Program Team – and the young people who are part of Next Step – to create spaces of interconnectedness, empowerment, and advocacy.

What is your favorite thing about working at Next Step?

Working alongside staff and young people to create more freedom, opportunity, and compassion in the world.

What is a random factoid about yourself?

I have never – and I mean never – followed a recipe exactly as written.

How did you find out about Next Step and what about the organization appealed to you?

I found Next Step while searching for organizations that work with young people towards liberation, self-love, and community. I believe that the values that uphold Next Step are the same values that are necessary for a just and loving society: (1) the idea that self-empowerment cannot be achieved without community and a sense of belonging, and (2) the belief that joy is the foundation of any freedom-building movement.

How was your first Next Step Summer Campference experience? Favorite highlight? Any surprises?

Highlight: Seeing the community song come together.

Surprise: Eating some of the concoctions in the mug cake contest…

Why did you choose a nonprofit career path?

I’ve chosen a career path in positive youth development, because I believe that young people deserve to shape their own futures. This is the first nonprofit I’ll be working for in a full-time capacity, and I’m excited for the space I will have to create programming that is responsive to the needs of the young people.

We are really into music at Next Step. Do you have a favorite musician? Favorite concert you attended? Do you play a music instrument or sing?

I love any music that leans into nostalgia, but right now I am listening to the same Ravyn Lenae album on repeat. I sing very enthusiastically in the shower, and I played piano for 10 years until a fateful, mistake-ridden recital performance.

Do you have a favorite hobby during your free time outside of Next Step?

Anything that involves (a) being outside, and (b) spending time with my friends.


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