In 2004 The Next Step was a vision that was given to Onreka Givens-Johnson by God. It started with her family providing a couch for youth who found themselves in a state of homelessness. Then it branched out to a food and clothing distribution through Preparatory Academy at 1510 and 1512 SW Tennessee Avenue overseen by her mother Barbara Thomas Givens, a native Lawtonian.
Later the street outreach program began with volunteers providing backpacks filled with food, toiletries, coupons, water, and other miscellaneous items. In 2008 the program grew into a full supportive program for homeless youth. Partnerships like the one with Lawton Housing Authority, who made The Genesis House Project come to fruition, helped to provide housing for The Next Step participants.
The new housing program is My Next Step which is a partnership between a local apartment complex for the Supportive Housing program. Youth are given the opportunity to have safe and stable housing while working toward independence.
The guest experience what it would be like to live independently while having support. They have the opportunity to work on a Life Plan that will help to transition into adulthood with success. This supportive housing program has helped many young people be able to move into permenant housing.
Since it's begining work in 2008 the Next Step has: obtained their 501 (c) (2015), expanded it programs and services to youth and families, and continues to collaborate with local organizations to help meet the needs of the community. We thank the many organizatons and individuals that have helped Net Step over the years.