Formerly The Next Step Day Room - New Name, Same Great Cause!

Staff & Directors

One of our employees said, "This is not a job.  It is a mission."
We are proud of our committed staff. 



KIM WOHLFORD, Executive Director

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 A life long Fort Smith resident, Kim joined the staff at Next Step in January, 2016.

She served on Next Step Homeless Services' Administrative Board for 8 years, including

terms as President, Treasurer, and Secretary before accepting the position of Executive Director.

She and her husband, Charlie have one son and two daughters and one grandson. Kim has served

over 25 years as a community volunteer with organizations including The Salvation Army,

Habitat for Humanity, Children's Service League, and the Junior League of Fort Smith.


John P. Foster, Director of Case Management

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John P. Foster, Director of Case Management, is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. He holds a Master's Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling and a Bachelor's Degree in Geography from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  Prior to joining the Next Step, Mr. Foster worked at Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center for 26 years where he held several positions including the Program Director for the NEW Center, a Community Support Program, at WACGC. The NEW Center provided comprehensive services in a Day treatment setting which inlcuded educational and vocational support, work adjustment, personal assistance, social assistance, transportation, networks, housing, psychiatric help and medical support. Mr. Foster joined us in August 2013.



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     Brittney Drost is the Next Step Homeless Services's case manager for supportive housing.

     She comes to us with an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix, and is

     currently working on her clinical mental health counseling degree through Walden University. Brittney

     has over 5 years of experience in the mental health and social work fields including previous work 

     at Perspectives Behavioral Health, Methodist Children's Home and My House, Inc. She and her husband

     Chris, have two young children and live in Greenwood. Brittney joined our staff in January 2016.




Cheryl Matlock, Case Manager

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Cheryl Matlock is a Case Manager and also oversees the operation of the kitchen that provides daily hot lunches at The Next Step. Her other duties include billing and filing statistical reports each month. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising from Oklahoma State University. Ms. Matlock is the veteran employee on staff as she joined us in September 2009.

Robert Petty, Case Manager

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Robert Petty is a Case Manager and our database specialist at The Next Step. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith in 2010. Upon graduation, Mr. Petty worked at Vista Health as a Mental Health Paraprofessional. Mr. Petty joined us in October 2011.


Overseeing the operation of The Next Step Homeless Services is a proactive Board of Directors:




Neil Pennington is the President of Strategic Healthcare Management and the Chief Financial Officer for the Little Rock Eye Clinic. Mr. Pennington joined Next Step's Board of Directors in September 2014 and became President in July 2015. He holds a bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  



Sharon Chapman, an active volunteer throughout the Fort Smith community, joined the Board of Directors of the Next Step Homeless Services in July 2014. She became Vice President of the Board in July 2015. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Service League for the past 20 years and is currently the organization’s board president. She also serves on the boards of Western Arkansas Ballet and NICCE Foundation (North India Christian Children’s Education Foundation). Ms. Chapman has a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Oklahoma and previously worked as a case manager and supervisor at Area Agencies on Aging in Oklahoma and in Missouri. 




Susan Tucker is the owner of River City Deli and has served on our Board of Directors since July 2012. She became the Board Secretary in July 2013 and is graciously taking on her third year in that role. 






Rev. Phil Blackburn is the co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith.  A native of Oklahoma City, Phil moved to Fort Smith in the summer of 2012 with his wife, Tasha, who joined him in ministry at First Presbyterian.  They have two children, Calum and Alena. Rev. Blackburn graduated from the University of Kansas in 1997 and then attended seminary at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He followed his time there with one year at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Rev. Blackburn has a deep passion for caring for people in need and is thrilled to be involved with Next Step. He joined the Board of Directors in July 2014. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Crisis Intervention Center.




Tom Caldarera Jr. is the co-owner of Taliano’s Italian Restaurant. He is the longest serving member of our Board of Directors. He served as treasurer during the 2014-15 fiscal year. 

Jeanne Carroll, Board Member


Jeanne Carroll is the District homeless liaison for the Fort Smith Public Schools. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management from John Brown University. Ms. Carroll has been an active member of the Old Fort Homeless Coalition (OFHC) for the past nine years and was previously on the OFHC Board of Directors. She was a member of the City of Fort Smith's Homeless Task Force, which was formed by the City of Fort Smith to address homelessness issues.

Jo Carson, Board Member


Jo Ellen Carson is an attorney ad litem for foster children in Sebastian County employed by the Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Ms. Carson previously served in the Arkansas House of Representatives as a member and committee chair. This is Ms. Carson's second time serving on our Board of Directors.




Ila M. DeBose is a mental health therapist at Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center where she is assigned to help students at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Ms. DeBose is also a clinical therapist and owner of Back to Basics Counseling Services, LLC, in Fort Smith. Ms. DeBose previously worked with the school-based services program at Perspectives Behavioral Health Management.  She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Xavier University. Ms. DeBose joined our Board of Directors in 2012. She served as the Board Treasurer last year.




Paula Glidewell is the Co-owner and Vice President of Glidewell Distributing. Ms. Glidewell is the past Vice President of The Next Step Homeless Services Board and has served as President previously. She sits on the Community Affairs Committee of the board.  She also is the Vice President of the Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors (SAWD), Board member and Governmental Affairs committee member of the American Wholesale Marketing Association, President of the Oklahoma Wholesale Marketing Association. She is a Board member of the Arkansas Convenience Store Association, an Arkansas Hospitality Association member, Fort Smith (Little Rock/ Greenwood) Chamber of Commerce member, and a member of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Ms. Glidewell is an Auxiliary member of the Salvation Army, Board member of Girls Inc., member of Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club, Noon Exchange Club, and Zonta. Her previous volunteer service includes serving as Vice President of the Junior League and State Public Affairs Chairman for Arkansas’ Junior Leagues, Director of CASA for Sebastian and Crawford counties, and President of the Learning Academy School Board, and Soroptomists. 


Tim Smith, Board Member


Tim Smith has served on our Board of Directors since February 2012 and is a member of the Property Committee. Mr. Smith has owned and operated Ross Explorations in Fort Smith for more than 30 years.







W. SCOTT whittenberg, board member



William Scott Whittenberg is a Senior Financial Analyst at ValueMetrik CFO where he works with businesses to help improve financial performance and grow shareholder wealth through expert strategy development, financial management and accounting outsourcing. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith as well as a Masters of Business Administration from Webster University.








As a nonprofit 501(c)(3), donations to
The Next Step Homeless Services
are tax deductible.
Tax ID # 71-0755680

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