Leslie Gutierrez answers the phone politely, but you can tell she really doesn’t have time. She’s the oldest of four, and a student of Duke Ellington School of the Arts in DC, and in charge on the afternoon she speaks with us. The conversation is, by turns, illuminating and funny.
Leslie is 15. Her siblings are Randolfo Campos, 12, Elias Campos 11, and one voluble Kassandra Campos, 8. Their mother, Geisy Ceberino was a NEW client who benefitted from New Endeavors by Women’s (NEW) New Horizons program. She couldn’t really take the time to talk because she is employed as a home health aide worker. It falls to Leslie to fill in why NEW, and the YEP! program (Youth Enrichment Program) in particular, has made a difference for the whole family. Read more
A note from Wanda Steptoe, NEW’s executive director:
Right now, our staff and residents are doing what you probably are too — gearing up for Thanksgiving.
Some of those residents are kids — infants, toddlers, and teens. And I cannot tell you what joy they bring to the room! Which it is why it pains me to tell you that we have lost funding for the Youth Enrichment Program, YEP!, the one NEW program designed to provide academic support and life skills to our youth residents. Read more
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation recently awarded us a $15,000 grant. We’re excited about this new partnership with Bank of America, which understands the power of making connections in the communities in which they live and work.
Every penny counts as we seek to meet the women — and their families — who come to us, where they are, and as they need, in their path from homelessness to shelter and new beginnings.
Former NEW executive director, Mary Popit doesn’t mince words about the woman who will be honored with the award that bears her name. “Without Anne, NEW could have fallen apart.” She’s speaking, of course, about Anne Raffaelli, a longtime supporter and former board chair of NEW. She stepped down in December 2015 after more than 23 years of service, and is this year’s recipient of the Mary Popit Partner in Caring Award.
Mary says Anne brought a “stick-to-it-iveness” to NEW that has sustained the organization. “You have to have a good staff AND a good board that offers oversight, and makes sure you see the bigger picture. You can’t have one without the other. Anne was instrumental in making sure that happened.” Wanda Steptoe, NEW’s current executive director – who took over from Mary describes Anne more succinctly: “Committed, passionate, caring.”
Anne says she was simply doing her job as a board member, being an “asker in chief,” and asking the questions that needed to be asked. “Because it’s what a board should do.” Read more
Mrs. Tara McLain, our 2011 New Light Alumna Honoree, passed away on July 12, 2016. Tara leaves behind six children. She was truly a “new light” example for other NEW clients, taking on challenges and continuing to set and meet even higher goals in her journey out of homelessness. We will miss Tara. Read more
Our executive director, Wanda Steptoe said something moving last month when the first shoots of determined green emerged in the first flush of spring. “Like the tulips,” she said, “the women of are always pushing forward insistently, bent on showing their beauty and thriving in the world around us.” Read more
The words “remarkable” and “survivor” routinely apply to NEW alumna. Even so, Petrina Williams breaks the mold. Like many NEW aluma, Williams, now a NEW board member, has been through challenges that would fell the rest of us. Yet as she talks about her experiences with matter-of-fact honesty, she radiates happiness and a joy for living. For example, her outgoing voicemail message, where you can practically hear her smile, invites you to “Have a great day—on purpose!” No doubt, it is that upbeat attitude that has carried Williams through life. And what a life it has been. Read more
Evan Piekara’s involvement with NEW began with homework. While getting his MBA at Georgetown, Piekara was tasked with matching classmates with nonprofits in DC for service projects. NEW didn’t make the cut at the time, but he came away impressed with everything he saw—enough to keep it in mind when he graduated and ran a volunteer day at BDO, his place of employment. Several interactions and gala invitations later, Piekara was convinced that NEW was the real deal. Read more
Debbie Curtis comes to NEW’s board with an impressive resume. Currently the deputy director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority, Curtis has 23 years of experience working on Capitol Hill, where she was one of the leading experts on health insurance, Medicare, and mental health parity. All of which means she knows exactly what due diligence to perform and where to look under any organization’s hood for budgets, numbers, and efficiency. A long time supporter, she strongly believes in the mission of NEW. Also, as she puts it, “There’s very little overhead at NEW. It’s very hands on, and what you see is what you get.” Read more
We know it doesn’t take much, and yet, we are always surprised how little separates us from the homeless—a job loss, medical bills, a bad marriage. It can happen to anyone of us. Then we get to know the people whose fortunes took a poor turn. And we realize they aren’t always troubled people who were already on thin ice. Read more