By Rebecca Smith During her interview for this profile, Next Step counselor Simone Key carefully considers the facets of each question posed, inspecting details and possible meanings. “Girl, you should have sent me these questions beforehand,” she laughs. “I’m just not the type of person who can...

By Rebecca Smith As a child of a single mother, Rhonda Moore, LPC, understands a lot of the struggles her adolescent clients see, she said. “I think that makes me able to connect with my kiddos,” she said. “I understand that’s it’s hard, I understand having to...

By Rebecca Smith Lori Dunaway smiled when she received a text from a former client who had just graduated. “She wanted to know if I was still at the school and if she could meet and talk to me,” she said. “She wanted to let me know...

By Rebecca Smith One of Leigh Hines’ favorite clients was a teen whose sessions had a rocky start. “The first eight sessions, we didn’t talk at all,” she said with a laugh. “He tried to get rid of me, but I kept coming back. Now he tells...

By Rebecca Smith Next Step counselor Lauri Abernathy likes to put what she does in simple terms. “Every kid is a person, and every person needs to be cared for, validated, and supported throughout whatever they are facing in their life,” she said. “I am able to...

By Rebecca Smith Kerry Adamek became a counselor because he knew he needed more training to deal with the heavy burdens his congregants were bringing him at the church he pastors, Calvary Baptist Church in Talco. “A lady came to me who had been raped and molested...

By Rebecca Smith Working with children can make a Next Step counselor feel like a superstar. “I hear a lot from the elementary school especially that the kids enjoy coming to see me,” said Next Step counselor Don Neal. “There was one time I was sick and...

By Rebecca Smith Next Step counselor Dinah Nix believes growing up with substance abuse in her own family makes her a more empathetic counselor. “A family member would take me to AA, and I was supposed to stay outside, but I would sneak back in and hide...

By Rebecca Smith Brandee Grissett joined Next Step’s school counseling program in February 2020, shortly before schools closed under the COVID-19 pandemic. “I see a lot of anxiety, just from not having a social outlet and routine,” she said. “The first thing I always like to do...