Next Step mentors, like Yoseph, are changing lives!

Next Step is all about relationships, so it’s no surprise that mentorship is a huge part of our programs. Our mission is to empower seriously ill young people to create the future they envision for themselves, and mentoring helps them get there. Next Step mentors provide support and guidance as our young participants take steps to move toward becoming their best self. Next Step mentorship opportunities focus on academics, career development and life skills. Our participants can achieve small victories, major milestones, and everything in between—and we celebrate each one with them!

We recently interviewed Yoseph, a college student at Harvard University and a volunteer mentor of STRIVE – Next Step’s after-school mentorship program for youth living with sickle cell disease. We offer our free STRIVE program in Boston, Washington D.C. and New York City. Take a moment read what Yoseph had to say about the importance and impact of our mentorship program for youth living with sickle cell disease!

How were you introduced to Next Step’s STRIVE program? What is your position?

“I currently serve as a co-program coordinator. I started doing Strive three years ago as a freshman in college. I saw an email on a list-serv about an opportunity to integrate healthcare and mentorship which are both very interesting to me.”

Explain why it is rewarding to support Next Step’s STRIVE program.

“I really enjoy being a part of STRIVE because it is one day a week that I get to join a very supportive and kind community of mentees and mentors. It is an escape from the regular hustle and bustle of my school work at Harvard.”

How does Next Step’s STRIVE program support high school teenagers living with sickle cell?

“We offer various types of support whether it is with relationships, self-care or academic support that sometimes includes envisioning their career goals. Our STRIVE survivor panel is an incredibly impactful workshop we host every semester. We bring in a panel each semester of young adults living with Sickle Cell. These adults answer the questions of our teenagers who had many of the same questions when they were younger. In addition to our panel, we promote hydration and healthy eating through our other programs.”

Why is Next Step’s STRIVE program important for high school teenagers living with sickle cell disease?

“STRIVE is important because these are teenagers at the end of the day. They need a safe-space where they can converse and have fun.”

What would you tell a young person who is thinking about joining Next Step’s STRIVE program to get help with school and life?

“STRIVE is a phenomenal program because it gives its high school teenagers college-readiness skills and teaches them how to manage their health in their every day life. We foster speaking skills through our debate competitions. We also have the students set semester goals that we help them stay accounted for. There are many goals we were on each week and throughout each semester. It is really fun for the participants and impactful for their growth!”

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