By Rebecca Smith Next Step counselor Jansen McDonald, LMSW, happened upon the counseling field in an unusual way. “I majored in psychology in college just because I love to be with people, but I didn’t know what that would entail for me,” he said. “When I really...

By Rebecca Smith Next Step counselor Brittney Dougan, LMSW, recalls a 7th-grade student she felt has made some of the most progress since Brittney started with Next Step in September 2020. “She was really angry, ready to fight people at the drop of a hat,” Brittney said. “When...

By Cory McCoy Having a mentor can be one of the most fulfilling relationships in a person’s life, but often it’s hard to pin down exactly what qualities make someone a great mentor. That might be because what someone needs most from a mentor/mentee relationship can vary...

By Cory McCoy “Sometimes the best way to solve your problems is to help someone else.” While that line may sound like timeless words of wisdom, it’s actually from a cartoon. With those words, fan favorite Uncle Iroh was telling the titular hero of Legend of Korra...

By Cory McCoy In recognition of World Kindness Day, the Sources of Strength team at Next Step is recognizing positive friends, and the impact they have on our lives. With Sources we focus on eight strengths to help students build hope, help and strength. Over the next...

By Rebecca Smith Next Step counselor Garland Willis recalled what made him go from being a high school principal to a counselor a few years ago. “Being a principal is where all my white hair came from,” he said with a laugh. “As a principal, my most...

By Rebecca Smith Every so often, a Next Step counselor will see an adolescent who is struggling with their LGBTQ identity. For these students, counseling can make the biggest difference, as they can be especially vulnerable to mental health issues. “Suicide is the third leading cause of...

By Rebecca Smith Keisha Lett began to notice small changes in her 15-year-old counseling client. “This was a girl who came in with high anxiety,” she said. “I would set things out for her to fidget with as we talked. She wasn’t able to express herself and...

By Rebecca Smith When Sherry Parker started at Next Step only a couple weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the schools in March 2020, she worried how she would see the students who needed her. Next Step set her and the other counselors up with video...