NOAH Newsletter February 2006 / Issue III


Belle Glade Ribbon-Cutting
Hurricane Wilma Update
NOAH's New Hires
NOAH News in Brief


Welcome to the NOAH Newsletter. We have many new subscribers since our last issue. For those of you who may have missed any of our previous newsletters, please feel free to check out our online archive. And, as always, we welcome your feedback. Please let us know your thoughts.


Belle Glade Renaissance Covenant Gardens

On January 27, NOAH and its partners celebrated a significant milestone in the economic development of Belle Glade - the ribbon-cutting for the Belle Glade Renaissance/Covenant Gardens housing development. The event was postponed from last November due to Hurricane Wilma. Local channels WPBF Channel 25 (ABC) and WPEC Channel 5 (NBC) covered the event on their afternoon broadcasts that day.

Phase One of the Belle Glade Renaissance/Covenant Gardens development includes 22 owner-occupied, single-family homes, nine of which are under construction. Under this initiative, an additional 50 single-family homes are planned over the next three years.

As its "developer," NOAH has been involved with the project since its inception in 2003 and has coordinated many elements of the development, such as financing construction, acquiring building sites, recruiting buyers and supervising builders. Other key agencies that were instrumental in the project and worked in partnership with NOAH were the City of Belle Glade, Palm Beach County Housing and Community Development, The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, The Community Financing Consortium and Wachovia Bank.

Belle Glade Renaissance/Covenant Gardens' ribbon-cutting is a major step toward realizing NOAH's mission of bringing economic self-sufficiency to the Glades.

"With this achievement, NOAH gains the development of new homes for area residents, which moves families into property ownership, which eventually gives them financial assets and therefore the ability to operate with more independence in society," said Thomas Roberts, NOAH executive director. "NOAH also gains some income, but it will not be equivalent to the approximately $300,000 already invested in the Covenant Gardens site. NOAH views that as an investment in the Glades as a whole."

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Christmas Party 1
Christmas Party 3 Christmas Party 2
Holidays 2005 at NOAH,
Kids Enjoy Santa Claus' visit



When U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson and The Ad Council launched the Jan. 19 "There is hope, there is help" campaign, they wanted to inspire, reassure and educate families displaced by last season's hurricanes. For home-ravaged residents of the Glades, NOAH embodies the help that provides the substance for hope.

NOAH is helping to find homes for families displaced by Hurricane Wilma and jobs for workers unemployed because of the Oct. 24 storm.

"We have assisted maybe 40 families into housing," said George Kinsler, Director of Residential Housing Services for NOAH. "They were living with relatives or in motels or other forms of shelter. I have a waiting list of probably 50 more. The problem we're having is finding places for them to move into. "We're not ruling out anything in the Glades. "Most folks don't want to leave the area. Their families live here; they've lived here all their lives. We're even asking residents if they know housing that's vacant, they can contact the landlord and what we are going to do is go into a lease agreement between the landlord and NOAH so the landlord won't have a second thought about getting their money."

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NOAH is excited to welcome three new employees to its staff. On January 3, Patricia Ramirez-Longoria joined NOAH as a new secretary/administrative assistant to Matilda Edwards in the Early Childhood Department.

Before coming to NOAH, Patricia was a receptionist at Sunshine Dental in South Bay and worked at Kathy's Kooler, a drive-thru store. She is a graduate of Glades Central High School and pursued paralegal studies at New England Tech.

"She is really catching on to our system here at NOAH, and I can't say enough about how wonderfully Patricia is doing. She is my left and right arm," said Matilda. Patricia's strengths are her computer skills and proficiency, her organizational abilities and her fluency in two languages.

"Her bilingual ability helps us out tremendously," said Matilda. "Most of our population is African-American, Haitian and Hispanic, and we are able to provide comprehensive services because she can translate."

Luz Maria Alanis  

Luz Maria Alanis, an assistant teacher at Building Blocks, also joined NOAH on January 3. Luz's responsibilities include working with the toddlers' classroom and assisting with the developmental concerns of the children.

Luz has worked as a volunteer with the center to complete her classroom requirements for the Child Development Associate program at PBCC. A native of Mexico, Luz has a degree in Accounting from a school in Mexico and plans to pursue a degree in Early Childhood locally, after finishing her CDA.

Parent Educator Shawn Bynum joined NOAH's Pre-Natal Parenting Education program on Dec. 12. In her position, Shawn sets up training programs for pregnant teens and young family members.

"We try to reach teens early in their pregnancies to help them have as healthy a pregnancy as possible," said Givens-Barber.


Shawn Bynum

Shawn comes to NOAH with three years of schooling in sociology and social work at University of Florida and Florida Atlantic University. She has an Associate's degree in General Education from PBCC.

Previously, she worked with the Comprehensive AIDS program in West Palm Beach. A native of the Glades, Shawn also resides in one of NOAH's housing developments.

"It's an easy transition because she's a native, and she has a comfort level of getting in the schools and working with various other local programs," Givens-Barber said.


NOAH Prepares for Certification: In January, NOAH's Building Blocks was busy preparing for agency certification, a requirement of non-profit organizations by Children's Services Council, United Way and Palm Healthcare Foundation. The certification is to ensure that best practices are being implemented in four main areas: Administration/Governance, Human Resources/Personnel/Volunteers, Fiscal Management and Client Services.

Staff has to submit paperwork by the end of March and complete a self-assessment, an on-site review, a preliminary assessment report, final certification assessment report and an authorization to release information.

NOAH Board Member a 'Great Woman': The Board of Directors and staff of NOAH are very pleased to announce that Dorothy Gibson Gilbert, one of the founders of NOAH and a dedicated and active member of its Board, has been listed as one of the Great Women of the 21st Century. Her biography is featured in the 2004-05 edition of "Great Women of the 21st Century," published by American Biographical Institute, Raleigh North Carolina.

"We are proud to have such a woman of accomplishment as part of our organization and realize that without her vision, dedication and compassion NOAH would not be what it is today," said Thomas Roberts, executive director of NOAH. "It is a well-deserved honor."

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