Next Steps of
Next Steps of South Carolina (NSSC) works because congregation members from Cooperative Churches in our communities volunteer to fill all Staff positions at each NSSC Affiliate. Each team has one team leader and several team members. Although every volunteer receives training with regard to the Next Step Program in general, the team leader trains his/her new team members with regard to the nuances concerning their team.
All Staff members are welcome to share their faith and pray with Next Step Program Participants as the opportunities arise; gradually helping them to feel welcome as a member of your Cooperative Church family.
Select a volunteer opportunity that best fits you!
Reception Team Members are charged with a responsibility that has a lasting impact on the success of each NSSC Affiliate: making a good first impression. Reception Team Members are often the first representative of our ministry that a visitor may encounter so good interpersonal skills—being courteous, professional, and helpful—are critical. Reception Team Members answer telephones, route and screen calls, greet visitors, respond to inquiries from the public, and provide information about the ministry. Most important, the Reception Team Member puts new Participants at ease and, with a Mentor’s guidance, schedules returning Participants with necessary services.
Database Management Team Members maintain the quantity and quality of the data in the Affiliate’s Next Steps Database at www.SouthCarolinaMinistries.org. They enter data from hand-written Participant Registration and Intake forms and data on new employment and social services/ministries given them by the Communication and Outreach Team. Database Management Team Members help Samaritan and Lazarus Mentors with questions about the Database and generate special reports from the Database for use by the Next Step Program Director, the Board of Directors, and the Cooperative Church Council.
Space and Systems Team Members ensure that the facilities and computer systems at the Host Cooperative Church are sufficient to support operation of the Affiliate's Next Step Program. They work with the Host Church staff to provide sufficient, comfortable, and confidential office space for operating the Next Step Program. Space and Systems Team Members maintain computer hardware and software that support the Next Step Program, especially related to accessing the Next Steps Database at www.SouthCarolinaMinistries.org and the Next Steps Library at www.NextStepsSC.org.
Communication and Outreach Team Members share Next Step Program information, located at www.NextStepsSC.org, with people in the community. They enlist local churches to become Cooperative Churches by meeting with their clergy and church staff and making presentations to their various church groups. They provide the Volunteer Recruitment and Development Team with contact information for potential new Next Step Program volunteers from these churches. Communication and Outreach Team Members get to know guests at social ministries in the community, e.g., homeless shelters, food pantries, soup kitchens, free medical clinics, Goodwill, etc. to tell them about and encourage them to visit the Next Step Program. As they become familiar with ministries in the community, Communication and Outreach Team Members provide the Database Management Team information on new employment and social services/ministries they discover for input to the Affiliate’s Next Steps Database at www.SouthCarolinaMinistries.org.
Volunteer Recruitment and Development Team Members provide orientation, training, placement, and renewal services to Next Step Program volunteers. They invite new volunteers, identified by the Communication and Outreach Team, to Next Step Program Orientation at the Host Cooperative Church. Volunteer Recruitment and Development Team Members conduct Next Step Program Training for new volunteers to help them develop a working knowledge of the Next Steps Library at www.NextStepsSC.org and the Next Steps Database at www.SouthCarolinaMinistries.org. They work with the Next Step Program Team Leaders to place trainees on teams that they might enjoy serving and that need new volunteers. Volunteer Recruitment and Development Team Members encourage volunteers who have served on a Next Step Program Team for a year to take refresher Next Steps Workshop and Database Training to prepare them to serve on a different team the next year, prevent burn-out, and foster new leadership.
Lazarus Mentor Team Membersuse the NSSC Affiliate’s Next Steps Database at www.SouthCarolinaMinistries.org to help Program Participants identify and access employment and social services as they take the Next Steps to improve their lives. Lazarus Mentor Team Members also use the Database to help Participants alleviate a temporary crisis in their lives. They telephone the employment and/or social service/ministry organizations to make appointments for the Participants; and annotate date, time, place, and other relevant details for entry in the Database. Lazarus Mentor Team Members identify any changes needed in the Next Steps Database to better serve Participants’ needs; and the Team Leader submits this information to the Database Management Team.
Samaritan Mentor Team Members help Next Step Program Participants make positive changes in their lives through a continuous series of one-on-one conversations that result in Participants taking their “Next Steps” toward achieving life changing goals. They use the Registration and Intake form to interview new Participants and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Samaritan Mentor Team Members use the Next Steps Database at www.SouthCarolinaMinistries.org to develop positive life changing goals with each Participant; agreeing on and recording the Participant’s Next Steps toward achieving each goal. They refer each Participant to a Lazarus Mentor who helps the Participant identify and access employment and social services to help them achieve one or more of their Next Steps or alleviate a temporary crisis in the Participant’s life. Samaritan Mentor Team Members meet with each Participant after their meetings with employment and social service organization personnel and/or other actions by the Participant to achieve their Next Steps. They assess Participant’s progress in achieving each Next Step toward each goal, record the results for entry into the Database, and agree on and record the Participant’s next step for each goal. Samaritan Mentor Team Members provide each Participant the moral support, role modeling experience, and knowledge of the hidden rules that can play a vital role in making positive changes in her/his life.
The Next Step Program Director coordinates and continuously improves the efforts by the Next Step Program Team Leaders to help break the cycle of poverty in their community through the Next Step Program.The Next Step Program Director meets biweekly with the entire group of Team Leaders to review and take appropriate action concerning new continuous process improvements recommended by each Team Leader.They also discuss system and content changes recommended for the Next Steps Database at www.SouthCarolinaMinistries.org and/or the Next Steps Library at www.NextStepsSC.org that might benefit their NSSC Affiliate.Using reports generated by the Database Management Team, the Next Step Program Director meets quarterly with the Next Step Program Board of Directors to discuss issues concerning program management, financial management, and other issues as needed.Using the same reports, the Next Step Program Director meets 4-6 times a year with the Next Step Program Cooperative Church Council to discuss issues concerning mutual support between the Next Step Program and the Cooperative Churches in the community.
Next Step Program Board of Director Members oversee efforts by the Next Step Program Director and the entire Next Step Program Team to help break the cycle of poverty in the community through the Next Step Program.They meet quarterly with the Next Step Program Director to review reports generated by the Database Management Teamand discuss issues concerning program management, financial management, and other issues as needed, including fund raising for the Next Step Program in the community.Next Step Program Board of Director Members organize and participate in Board-Member Working Groups, as needed, to make recommendations to the full Board concerning (a) implementation of process improvements and (b) system and content changes to the Next Steps Database at www.SouthCarolinaMinistries.org and Next Steps Library at www.NextStepsSC.org as requested by the Next Steps Program Director.
Cooperative Church Council Members maintain liaison with the Next Step Program Director to help break the cycle of poverty in their community through their church’s support, involvement, and participation in the Next Step Program.They meet with the Program Director to review reports generated by the Next Steps Database at www.SouthCarolinaMinistries.org and discuss issues concerning how the NSSC Affiliate can better support Cooperative Churches in the community, how the Cooperative Churches in the community can better support the NSSC Affiliate, and other issues as needed.Cooperative Church Council Members organize and participate in Council-Member Working Groups, as needed, to make recommendations to the full Council concerning improving the mutual support of the Cooperative Churches and the NSSC Affiliate.
Occasionally new volunteer opportunities will emerge at a NSSC Affiliate.This may occur when the Affiliate discovers that certain employment or social services are unavailable in the community that might help Participants take their next steps.So the Affiliate decides to create this new ministry to help meet this need.Or some Next Step Program Teams might temporarily be overwhelmed and need additional, temporary help to achieve their mission.Or the NSSC Affiliate may need to grow in an unanticipated area and volunteers may be needed to facilitate that growth.
Here are a few examples:
HIV/AIDS Services Volunteers would explore the HIV/AIDS programs that the NSSC Affiliate might be able to offer people living with HIV/AIDS in the event that many of their Participants were in this category.
Food, Toiletries, and Wardrobe Volunteers would explore options available to the NSSC Affiliate in the event the Next Step Program Board of Directors decided to offer these resources to Participants visiting the Cooperative Church hosting the Next Step Program.Food resources might be in the form of “walking” food like bottled water and snack bars.Wardrobe resources might be clothes that Participants might wear to job interviews and to their new jobs.Toiletries might be a bag with soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, deodorant, wash cloth, etc. that a Participant who is homeless might need until s/he finds a shelter in which to live
Computer Skills Tutor and/or Technician Volunteers would help design enhanced computer labs at Cooperative Churches hosting the Next Step Program to create a computer skills curriculum for Participants.Computer Skills Tutor and/or Technician Volunteers must be computer savvy and have some time to tutor Participants, help design the curriculum, and maintain the computer labs.
Resume Writing Volunteers would help Participants create professional resumes, write cover letters, and conduct targeted job searches.This would provide the Participants seeking employment.Resume Writing Volunteers would help Participants by conducting in-depth discussions that review the Participant’s past employment, explore Participant’s potential, and provide targeted advice on attacking the job search.
Employment Workshop Volunteers would work with employment service agencies, the Chamber of Commerce, and businesses within the community to organize a job fair at a Cooperative Church where Participants could speak with perspective employers and turn in their resumes.
Financial Counseling Volunteers would help Participants walk through their financial struggles.This would include training Participants how to responsibly use a savings account, checking account, and/or credit/debit cards.This ministry would be especially critical to Participants who are about to begin earning a living wage for the first time in their lives.They may never before have had an opportunity to use these bank services and, therefore, have no working knowledge of these financial tools.
Weekend Meal Program Volunteers would help Communication and Outreach Team Members on weekends and at lunchtime to visit guests at community meal programs, share information about the NSSC Affiliate’s Next Step Program, and encourage those who are ready to meet with a Samaritan Mentor at a host Cooperative Church.Weekend Meal Program Volunteers would work at breakfast, lunch, or dinner programs (often located at area churches) and would serve as the liaison between the meal program and the NSSC Affiliate.They would receive special training, would work four hours one day a month, and must have good interpersonal skills and a desire to work with individuals who are homeless, hungry, and poor.
Front Office Volunteers would help the Reception Team Members keep files organized, file daily records, answer the telephone, and sort in-house mail.
Development Office Volunteers would help the Board of Directors in the area of fundraising by researching new foundations and grant opportunities, track and organize grant deadlines, and help with special fundraising events.
Photographer and Webmaster Volunteers would help promote the work of the NSSC Affiliate in the community by offering photographs and stories to the newspapers and creating the Affiliate’s own Next Steps South Carolina Beaufort or Charleston or Darlington etc. Website, Facebook, etc.
Next Steps of South Carolina is indebted to Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington (www.samaritanministry.com), Lazarus Ministry of Christ Episcopal Church, Alexandria, VA (www.historicchristchurch.org), and The Cooperative Ministry, Columbia, SC (www.coopmin.org) for allowing us to pattern our Next Step Program after their successful ministries.
(Last modified 6/13/2013)