Sponsored - The following content is created on behalf of A Step Ahead Foundation and does not reflect the opinions of Gray Media or its editorial staff. To learn more about A Step Ahead Foundation, visit www.astepaheadfoundation.org.
For the past ten years, A Step Ahead Foundation has successfully provided individuals in Shelby County with access to the most effective forms of birth control, free of charge. When the organization’s founder, Claudia Haltom, decided that it was time to step down, she knew exactly who would be the perfect fit to fill her formidable shoes: Nikki Gibbs.
“I have always had a passion for serving my community,” Gibbs, the next Executive Director of A Step Ahead Foundation, said. “It’s easy to lead an organization when you wholeheartedly believe in the mission and vision.”
“My previous career with the Department of Children’s Services fueled my passion for the work that we’re currently doing at ASAF. For seven years, I investigated severe sexual abuse and death cases involving children. Seeing young women who looked like myself, my friends, and my loved ones standing before a judge wondering if their children would be taken away from them was heartbreaking. I realized that by providing young women with education about the most effective methods of birth control as well as access to these methods, women could have more control over their own lives. This would not only positively impact family structure, but the surrounding community as well.”
Gibbs took the reins of A Step Ahead a little more than one year before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Becoming a first-time Executive Director is challenging enough; dealing with a global pandemic on top of a new venture was daunting. Nevertheless, Gibbs persisted.
“Despite the pandemic, we have continued to provide educational programming, access to clinical services, and vital resources to our community members. Our vision is for all women to have the opportunity to pursue an education, move ahead in their careers, help their families get ahead, and be able to plan the lives they want to lead.”
This year, A Step Ahead Foundation celebrated their 10-Year Anniversary. Gibbs is confident that the next ten years will be just as influential.
“We are stronger than ever, looking forward to partnering with even more agencies and clinics to continue this work. My vision for the next 10 years is to continue providing women in Shelby County with access to free low-maintenance birth control; continue assisting young women with access to our scholarship to ease the financial burden of obtaining a post-secondary education; and continue to provide educational outreach in a way that helps young women feel equipped with the tools necessary to plan their life, plan their futures, and plan their babies.”
“If we are successful at accomplishing these goals, we will continue to see a significant decline in teen pregnancy and higher graduation rates. Maybe we’ll even be forced to turn our attention to another cause outside of birth control.”
A Step Ahead Foundation is completely funded by donors like you. They receive no government funding. If you would like to contribute, please go to www.astepaheadfoundation.org/donate to help women and families continue to get a step ahead.