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The Next Step: the helper needs help

Representatives of The Next Step in Corydon appeared before the Harrison County Commissioners Saturday with a request they never expected to make.
The building, dedicated to providing a safe place and fellowship for those who have suffered from substance abuse or gambling addiction, needs help making ends meet, and they are requesting $10,000.
Since opening its doors in 1989, The Next Step has never requested tax dollar help with operating expenses, until now. It has, however, received county assistance with one-time expenses, like maintenance costs.
A motion made by Commissioner James Goldman and seconded by Jim Heitkemper passed the request on to the Harrison County Council with their blessing.
The Next Step was heard by the council Monday night. It is expected to act on the request on Nov. 14 from the riverboat human services account.
The Next Step secretary Cindy Bauer and treasurer Debbie Longoria explained Saturday morning that the property at 105 Big Indian Road is suffering fallout from a shortfall that has hit charities like Metro United Way.
That charity funded about two-thirds of The Next Step’s operating costs. Now it funds about one-third.
Longoria understands Metro United Way’s obstacles. She has taken a novice attempt at grant writing and fund-raising herself, though, she admits, there are no grant writers on The Next Steps board of directors.
Economic climate, a glut of campaigns and a tendency to donate to newer projects are all hurdles facing non-profits, Longoria and Bauer said.
‘If we don’t get additional funding we will have the sad choice to reduce services or lock the building up for part of the day,’ Bauer said.
Currently, the building is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. It hosts meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Gamblers Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Admittance is free and meetings are held both in the morning and evening.
A lunch is served daily from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the price of a freewill offering.
Longoria, whose late father, Sylvester Ladd, helped energize efforts to get The Next Step built, said that 87 people attended the Friday meeting hosted there.
Bauer estimated ‘conservatively’ that the facility serves 200 people each week.
The board is strictly volunteer, but The Next Step does have one full-time employee who serves as building attendant and prepares the lunch.
Operating expenses of The Next Step include payroll for the employees, insurance of $2,700 annually, utilities, bookkeeping and auditor’s expenses.
Anyone interested in donating to The Next Step can send a check to P.O. Box 720, Corydon, IN 47112. Anyone interested in providing grant-writing assistance can contact Longoria at The Next Step at 738-8968.