Empowering and Engaging, now as a Nonprofit
Well, folks, it’s official. Next Step Ed. is now a nonprofit entity. After five years as a standard-issue small business, we have decided to open our doors to the possibility of something greater. To what exactly? Only the future will tell, but we have our hopes, dreams, and a vision. In this vision, we join forces with like-minded teachers and teaching groups, funding partners that want to see good things happen in their communities, and we help usher in a new era of cooperation in education. In truth, in our five years we haven’t seen profits, and it’s never been about the money. That’s why we are making this change, to really align our structure with our intentions.
Let me share with you our new mission statement:
“We believe that all students deserve active mentorship from empowered and impassioned teachers in subjects that speak to their unique curiosities and nourish them as growing, thriving human beings. As such, we aim to build a network of community-based after school programs that nurture young souls and prepare them to be conscious and engaged global citizens of the 21st century.”
Where will you start?
We will start first by expanding our nonprofit music lessons to where they are most needed, areas higher in poverty. Where parents don’t have the extra money for extracurriculars and students don’t have access to the artists and mentors crucial to a balanced education. This is the central theme to the mission, to bring the skills where they are most needed.
Our after school music lessons have been a great success in the last five years. We have taught thousands of students the fundamentals of music, and for many we have helped light a fire of passion and joy that will continue for a lifetime of music. But almost all of these have been in suburban schools to students blessed with the resources to to enjoy these opportunities.
Next, we will expand our curriculum to include some of our other passions, such as entrepreneurial studies and naturalist education. To me especially, these are close to my heart and hold the keys of empowerment and appreciation that can change lives, but are sadly ignored by mainstream education as they don’t fit into the standard curriculum. These can be taught at the middle and high school levels, preparing students for adulthood in real and practical ways.
What do you need?
Most of all, we need partners in this mission. Parents, teachers, and schools.
We have the backend of a business, administration routines, a database, and the acumen to make our programs accessible to thousands more students right now. But we do not have support from schools, teacher/studio partners, and parents committed to joining their kids in our classes and spreading the word to others. As a nonprofit, we hope to do this and get more people on board.
We also need fundraising from grants, philanthropists of all levels, and from programs in communities that can afford to give a little extra.
For every school in an upscale suburban neighborhood, there are multiple schools in poverty stricken neighborhoods, both urban and rural, often in the same county. We will be trying our best to provide matching classes to these schools, as we believe every student should have the opportunity.
How can I help?
We have applied for our 501c3 nonprofit certification to make donations tax-deductible, but any help is appreciated in the form of donations or in spreading awareness of our organization and our cause. In fact, at this very moment, awareness is very valuable as our most immediate goal is to spread our reach and recruit partners. So please, follow, like, share, retweet, talk to your neighbors, or yell out your window the message that all kids deserve great mentors regardless of status. Maybe not that last one, but you could always relay the message at a reasonable volume.
So please, folks, absorb this message and get on board. We are really excited to take on this new adventure, and to see the good that this could provide in our communities. We would love for you to join us on this journey.