Case Manager Denise Ziegler considers herself Superwoman. She doesn’t wear a red cape or fly an invisible jet, but her days are devoted to helping others and saving the day.
Denise works as a case manager for New Horizons, helping mothers find stability and confidence, and helping their kids stay motivated and inspired. Denise is also earning her BA in criminal justice. As if that’s not enough, Denise takes care of her elderly mother and most weekends, all four of her grandsons, ages 12,11, 5 and 1 stay with her.
Serving others, she said, is just who she is. Read more
Did you know that Case Manager Antoinette Norris always seems to have a smile on her face? A DC native and the youngest of seven children, growing up, Antoinette was always fascinated with human behavior. “I wanted to know why people do what they do and why they think what they think,” she said. Antoinette’s brother went through some life challenges and she remembers asking her parents, “Why can’t he just get it together?” It was this desire to know and understand that lead her to social work. “I wanted to find out how I could help people change their behavior,” she said.
Antoinette earned an undergraduate degree in psychology and then a Master’s in counseling, both from Trinity University. When she graduated she was determined that she did NOT want to work with adults. She took an internship with Rachael’s House in any case, because she needed it to graduate. In true optimistic Antoinette form, she ended up connecting to her clients. “I was already very women-centric in my thinking, but I didn’t know it at the time,” she said “These were women. I’m a woman. That right there is a very powerful connection,” she said.
After more than a decade in the field, does Antoinette now understand human behavior? “I don’t know,” she said, “but what I do know is for the most part, people just want to be heard. The women I work with feel voiceless and powerless, and a listening ear can be medicine for the soul.”
Did you know that this week, case manager Mozell Brown celebrates 27 years of sobriety? One of 12 kids in her family, D.C-native, Mozell lost her mom to cancer when she was 10-years-old. “I didn’t know how to cope,” she said, so around the age of 13, she started using drugs. “I stopped believing in God and I became this very angry little girl,” she said. She eventually dropped out of school and became homeless. Read more
When volunteers came into our NEW homes this year, they were tasked with a specific mission: A group from Morgan Stanley painted the YEP classroom; A group from Reid Temple AME brought lunch for the women; a group from Deloitte organized a holiday party. These capable volunteers assisted us with solutions to real needs. And we were so grateful. Read more
Donna Burke first tried marijuana when she was 12 years old. It was peer pressure, she said. Later, she was first introduced to what she called “the drug of my choice, which was crack cocaine.” Then her great-grandfather died and she found out that the man she thought was her father was not her father. That sent her into a tailspin that solidified her drug habit. “I escaped into the world of drugs,” she said. She was in and out of jail, treatment facilities, and her family’s lives. She was diagnosed with HIV in jail, she had a daughter, and all the while, she prayed to God that she could get clean before her mother and grandmother died.
Then, one day, at the age of 48, she got tired. She went into a recovery program and she got sober. Both her mother and grandmother were alive to see it. “Everybody deserves a second chance,” she said. “I know that there’s a God because he heard my prayers.” Read more
This year’s 30th anniversary gala was a great success that raised more than $130,000! With hundreds of auction items, including tickets to Port City Brewery, to the Mark Twain Awards, and to a Capitals game, the event proved to be our most successful night yet. It was a wonderful way to celebrate 30 years of serving women and children in DC. We also honored some very special members of our NEW community. Read more
Our Winter Newsletter, ReNEWal, has been mailed. In this issue, we celebrate volunteers as well as our record-breaking gala. We are so thankful for our many NEW family members who help make every NEW success possible!
Please take a moment to browse our latest issue of ReNEWal. Read more
The #metoo movement has spawned a national discussion about serious issues that face so many women. This is a good thing. And yet, I can’t help but feel that the #metoo discussion has not been all-inclusive. Our women face myriad problems, not least of which is sexual abuse and domestic violence. This kind of trauma often leads to things like addiction and homelessness. And yet there are some people who are inclined to think women who are homeless become so of their own accord, their own mistakes, their own poor choices. Our women are judged in a way that the wealthy Hollywood stars who have also been wronged, are not.
The reality is, it’s amazing that women with little to no resources, forgotten by their communities, find the inner strength to keep going. And yet they do. Their will to live and achieve a better life is inspiring. This is why our work is so important.
You won’t see our women in The Washington Post next to the #metoo hashtag, but they have suffered nonetheless. It’s up to us, here at NEW, and all our wonderful, generous donors like you, to remember them, understand their struggles and be a part of their success, not because there is a movement with a hashtag, but just because it’s the right thing to do.