Skip To Main Content

Header Wrap

Logo Image


Next Steps 18-22 Program Receives Donation in Memory of Former NHS Graduates

Next Steps 18-22 Program Receives Donation in Memory of Former NHS Graduates
NPS Communications

The Norwalk Next Steps 18-22 Transition Program accepted a generous donation on April 29 from the families of Jolie Lubin and Samantha Birchard, former Norwalk High School graduates who tragically died in a fatal car accident in February 2024.

The families set up a GoFundMe to create a lasting tribute in the girls’ memory and chose to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Next Steps program. Birchard was planning to pursue a career in the special education field, and both she and Lubin had ties to students in the Next Steps program. Birchard and Lubin were known to the girls in Next Steps as giving the “best hugs.”

The Next Steps program is also working with the NPS Family Center and the Human Services Council to place a memorial bench outside their building at 1 Park St. in honor of Lubin and Birchard.

The Norwalk Next Steps Program works with students, ages 18-22, to effectively become valued members of the community. It offers a range of  services for students in need of functional academics, vocational experiences, and independent living skills development. The program focuses on daily living skills, vocational skills and self-determination skills lessons/activities, and works to broaden students’ abilities. The program also helps students develop the competence to lead successful and rewarding adult lives.

The families of Lubin and Birchard also plan to use a portion of the GoFundMe to establish a multi-year scholarship for the Norwalk High School Girls’ Soccer team beginning with the 2024-25 school year. The girls were the co-managers of the team and “loved getting geared up in their Bears green and whites while cheering on their team,” the families shared on the GoFundMe page. “Their school and team spirit were [sic] infectious!”

The families are working with the City of Norwalk to place a memorial bench at Calf Pasture Beach where the Lubin and Birchard enjoyed going to take in the ocean and watch the sunrise and sunset.

To donate to the memorial fundraiser, visit