2020 Virtual Fundraiser with Guest Speaker Rashema Melson
We are so excited that this year's event will feature Rashema Melson who experienced homelessness in Washington, DC as a child, but overcame so many challenges to graduate from Georgetown University last year. The evening will also feature #newstories about the women we serve and the journey that brought them to NEW, as well as a special award for long time supporter Steve Gross. It will be an evening of hope and inspiration.
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Thank You to Our 2020 Sponsors
Watch how Cidney, with the help of a caring NEW program manager grows into a healthier life.
District Veterans Contracting
Anne and Rudy de Leon
Kathy and Ted Beal
Debbie Curtis & Andy Elias
Pete Stark Foundation
The Strategic Peacock
Denise Gwyn Ferguson
Michelle Kohler and Jeff Hild
Robert and Judy McLaughlin
Kathy Bradley Wells
Evan, Prita, and Anaiya Piekara
Five Ways Forward, LLC
GRF CPAs and Advisors
Mary Popit, SHCJ
The Washington, D.C. Alumnae Foundation, Inc
Highlights from 2019's Annual Moving Out of Homelessness Fundraiser
NEW honored long-time supporter Ann McCormick with this year’s Mary Popit Partner in Caring Award
Ann was working in Congressman Pete Stark’s office alongside Anne Raffaelli, who became a loyal NEW supporter, and Mary Popit, who would later become NEW’s Executive Director, and saw the good work they were doing with the newly opened New Endeavors by Women. Ann began enthusiastically volunteering, and by 1999 she was serving on the board, helping out with myriad initiatives: defining NEW’s needs for the new building, developing NEW’s strategic plan, drafting NEW’s investment policy; as well as NEW’s by-laws; and assisting in the sale of property.
“Serving NEW was appealing to me because this was a population I felt needed more attention,” Ann said. “I was attracted to the concept of trying to help homeless women.”
Ann’s first job out of college was in human service policy. But it was her Dad who really instilled in her the desire to help people in need. “Dad was a local town supervisor. On Saturdays we would go to the town hall to write local welfare checks. So from an early age I knew there were people who needed a little help,” she said.
Inn her quiet, yet strong, way, Ann has enjoyed supporting NEW through the years. “Once I got involved with NEW, I felt committed. It was like this was the thing where I wanted to make my contributions.”
With an impressive empathy for the women NEW serves, Ann acknowledged the challenges they face and the strength they need. “I’m lucky enough to have the equivalent of first world problems and these women don’t. If I had a drinking problem, or a drug problem, would I be able to get my life together? The women that are here are giving it a shot.”
Humbly, Ann said she was a little embarrassed by the award. “Anything I did was easy compared to what the NEW women have to go through to get their lives together,” she said.
New Endeavors by Women is so important, Ann said. “There’s always going to be some people who need help. The NEW women are motivated and they just need the attention. NEW exists for them so that they can capitalize on their own desire to succeed. Especially in a town like DC that is so focused on what you do. People don’t notice these women. To the extent that I can do something to help that out, I will do it.”
NEW was proud to present Lenette Walker with this year’s NEW Light Alumna Award
Lenette came to NEW more than 10 year ago, pregnant with her sixth child. She was running from an abusive relationship and wanted desperately to remain sober after years of addiction. “My mental health was really messed up,” she said. It was hard to leave the man she had been with for 20 years and the father of all her children. It was hard to be away from her five daughters who were living with her mom. But Lenette knew she wanted something more for her life, something better, something NEW.
“I remember walking into NEW, really scared. I wanted to be safe, and not put drugs in my son, and NEW welcomed me. I struggled and I butted heads with Ms. Price, who was much younger than I was, but I needed their rules and their structure,” Lenette said. “It was a new start,” she said and she was grateful.
Lenette remembers having to do laundry and cook as her chores at NEW and in time she grew closer to the women. “The longer I stayed, it really became like a family and the women became like my daughters,” she said.
When she left NEW two years later, she was ready to make the next step. She has had struggles but today she is 12 years sober. She has a good job that she loves at Georgetown University. She lives with her kids in a townhouse. And she talks to her sponsor every day. Her last child, and her only son, is now 10 and she dotes on him. “He’ll ask me, ‘Are you doing ok, mom?’”
She was honored when NEW Executive Director called her to tell her about the award. “I was like, ‘What? Me?’”
Now Lenette wants to help other women who struggle. She feels lucky to have found NEW when she did. “This is God’s gift,” she said. “He put me here. It was just a new start.”
Last year NEW launched the Volunteer Service Award
At this year’s gala and auction, we honored the First Baptist Church of Glenarden’s “Willing Workers” who have been serving NEW for almost 15 years with regular workshops and lunches for the women.
Carla Thomas has been the leader of these efforts. Although Carla has been a part of Willing Workers since 2002, when her pastor asked her to lead the group, she was reticent. “I was like ‘Ok God, what are you trying to tell me? ‘Be ye also ready’ So I took on the challenge and I’ve been loving it ever since.”
Carla and the Willing Workers come to NEW six Saturdays a year with a theme. From celebrating birthdays, to making vision boards, to offering health and wellness workshops, the Willing Workers help the NEW women feel cared for. Carla recalled when one of the NEW women began testifying in front of everyone about the struggles she had seen and yet the hope and strength she felt about getting to a better place.
“I always had a passion to serve,” Carla said. “My parents taught us to treat people the way you want to be treated, and to serve those who are less fortunate. I just always wanted to serve. It’s always been my passion. Someone might not remember your name but they remember the way you made them feel.”