Words and Image courtesy of Next Step To Success.
At Next Step To Success (NSTS), we believe all youth want to succeed, all youth can succeed, and all youth deserves the chance to earn success. NSTS provides afterschool and full-day summer programs for Norfolk teens, ages 13 – 16. By partnering with other 22 local organizations, NSTS exposes youth to arrange of unique opportunities and skill-building workshops including sailing, boatbuilding, visual and performing arts, academic support, mentoring, character education, STEM-skill development, hands-on field trips and much more.
The NSTS program is ultimately designed to launch Norfolk youth on The Success Sequence, a data-based strategy for success validated by the research of the Brookings Institution and the Institute for Family Studies and the American Enterprise Institute. Their research data prove that young people who follow three steps are very likely to reach a middle-to-higher income lifestyle as adults.
The Success Sequence is:
Earn at least a high school degree (or beyond)
Get a job or go into the military
Wait for marriage to have children
NSTS professionally-trained staff unabashedly instill grit, optimism, perseverance, self-control, conscientiousness, teamwork, and personal integrity – characteristics that help individuals earn career success, experience better physical and mental health, and enjoy happier, well-rounded lives. By surrounding youth with the supports they need at this crucial stage of life, NSTS equips Norfolk teens to achieve success and self-sufficiency not only today, but for many years to come.
NSTS also uses the research of psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck, “positive psychologist” Dr. Martin Seligman, and bestselling author Dr. Angela Duckworth to shape the program design. Dr. Dweck emphasizes the importance of a Growth Mindset, Dr. Seligman, Learned Optimism and the research of Dr. Duckworth on Grit as essential character traits in successful, happy people.
NSTS challenges youth to be open to new opportunities, experiences, and personal relationships. The program empowers local youth to take the steps that will build their interests and talents into lifelong skills. By exposing youth to a range of innovative opportunities and by promoting the first two steps of The Success Sequence, youth discover new interests, find their passion, and pursue their dreams. Staff challenge teens to roll up their sleeves and jump into every aspect of the program. Whether youth are taking sailing classes, going on photoshoots, exploring local trade schools, or building boats, youth discover career-advancing opportunities that will allow them to flourish.
About Next Step To Success: Founded in 2021, Next Step To Success is a nonprofit organization based in Norfolk, Virginia. Its mission is to help youth in Norfolk build the independent, resilient character they will need to earn success and enjoy happy, fulfilling lives as adults. NSTS trained staff pick youth up from school in company vans, bring them to the program, feed them dinner via a catered meal, and safely drive them home at night. Each day at NSTS is unique where youth are empowered to learn new skills and competencies. Youth are partners at NSTS as they are empowered to make good decisions in their lives at school, at home, and in the community. NSTS’ vision is bold—we will cut the rate of poverty in half in Norfolk within a generation. To date, the program has served over 100 Norfolk youth, ages 13-16.