NOAH Newsletter May 2006 / Issue IV

IN THIS ISSUE:

Building Blocks Program
Amaryllis Repairs
NOAH's New Hires
NOAH News in Brief

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Welcome to the NOAH Newsletter. We appreciate your continued interest and support! 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.

BUILDING BLOCKS PROGRAM ‘GOING FOR THE GOLD’

Week of the Young Child Celebration

Hoisted by a Four-Star rating from Family Central, Inc., NOAH’s Building Blocks Family Development Center has earned its “excellence” status, but agency leaders maintain a laser-like focus on reaching higher.

“We are going for the gold,” said Board Member Dorothy Gilbert, one of the founders of NOAH.

Building Blocks is pursuing the top rating from a Children's Services Council/United Way certification program for nonprofit organizations. NOAH completed the first step in a 3- to 5-step process when it became one of 71 agencies to meet a March 31 self-assessment. The next step includes an on-site review of its administrative operations by the Center for Nonprofit Excellence.

Once completed, a report on NOAH’s status will be generated. If it does not meet standards, step 4 will include development of an improvement plan. Once the plan is completed, Step 5 will include another on-site review and a final report, which will determine that NOAH has met certification standards for sound nonprofit management (the bronze level), Best Practices (silver level) or Excellence in Nonprofit Management (gold level).

There is “absolutely” no pursuit of anything less than the Gold level for Building Blocks, said Gilbert, a retired school teacher. For her, being good is not enough. She wants greatness. And she knows a little something about being great. She recently was named a Great Women of the 21st Century and had her biography published by the American Biographical Institute.

She expresses her intent in direct sentences, much like an athlete training for gold.

“We want to be tops,” she said. “We want to be very outstanding. Our goal is to be tops in the program altogether.”

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Week of the Young Child” celebrations and activities held at NOAH in early April 2006
Bobbing for Apples
Water Balloons
Children Playing

 

$500,000 IN HELP ON THE WAY, BUT FARM WORKERS MUST WAIT ON AMARYLLIS REPAIRS
A gardener knows that once an amaryllis has stopped flowering, a series of steps in a months-long process can make it bloom again. That is where NOAH finds itself in its effort to rebuild 14 of 44 units in the apartment complex named for the botanical beauty.

The United States Department of Agriculture is set to send $500,000 to NOAH for rehabilitation of the Amaryllis Gardens apartments that were damaged during Hurricane Wilma, but the rebuilding process is being drawn out. It will be a while before the displaced farm workers who lived there can move back in.

“We just received notification from the USDA and we submitted all of the papers to them on April 21,” said Thomas Roberts, Executive Director of NOAH. “They have to come in and do a capital needs analysis, and we contracted with a firm in St. Louis to do that because we had to get a USDA approved firm. They are doing a lot of Katrina-related work in the Gulf, so it’s going to take some time. We’ll be well into the next hurricane season.”

Amaryllis Gardens Hurricane Damage

The Amaryllis apartments suffered the most hurricane damage of any other property operated under NOAH’s wing.

“Fourteen units were totally rendered unlivable,” Roberts said. “Roof damage was substantial and windows were blown out. The damage was substantial and heart-wrenching.”

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NOAH WELCOMES NEW HIRES
Building Blocks added two teaching assistants to its staff to help develop happy and healthy babies in the Glades. Monica M. Moore and Ternesha L. Greenfield both joined the child care staff on Feb. 13.

Monica Moore“Monica had previous experience working with children,” said Matilda Edwards, Director of Early Childhood Education. “She is a nurturer and she enjoys working with infants and toddlers. She was hired to work with the toddlers.” Monica previously worked as a sub in a home day care setting.

Ternesha L. Greenfield

“Ternesha also comes to us with previous experience working in child care. She’s currently working with our (three-year-olds and four-year-olds),” Edwards said.

Building Blocks has eight teachers with a lead teacher and an assistant teacher in
each setting. But Edwards said there is still room for more talented individuals who want to help cultivate the development of young hearts and minds.

“There are a couple of positions we are looking to fill,” Edwards said. “We provide services to English, Spanish and Creole-speaking children. It has been difficult to find a Hispanic-speaking teacher.”


NOAH NEWS IN BRIEF:
NOAH HELPS MORE THAN 100 FAMILIES FIND HOUSING; MORE HELP NEEDED:
George Kinsler is having some tough conversations. After helping to shelter more than 100 families displaced by Hurricane Wilma on Oct. 24, the Director of Residential Housing Services for NOAH said grant money for additional placements has been maxed out, and his list of families that still need help is easily more than 50 deep.

“I have young mothers who call, and they're almost in tears,” Kinsler said. But when the $1.2 million grant from the Housing Finance Authority of Palm Beach County ran out in late April, there wasn't much more NOAH could do.

For the 100 plus families NOAH did help, they will have their rent paid in full for a year while they get back on their feet. They were placed in homes throughout the Glades, “anywhere that was decent and sanitary,” Kinsler said. Some also were provided jobs in hurricane-related cleanup.

For those who still need help, uncertainty in a desperate housing shortage creates its own whirlwind as a new hurricane season approaches.

“I'm telling people not to give up; that there is hope and to keep trying,” Kinsler said. “I'm getting all of the information and contact numbers from individual families so that just in case I hear of anything, I can pass it on to them. A lot of times information comes down the pipe, and we can make recommendations to go here or go there and to see this person or see that person. We're just trying to help any way we can. It's real tough. We're just keeping our eyes and ears open for agencies that can give some type of assistance.”

SUMMER LUNCH AND BREAKFAST PROGRAM RETURNS TO NOAH:
School is out at the end of May, but for the fourth consecutive year NOAH will be there to provide help for working parents by serving as home base for summer breakfast and lunch programs.

The program starts in early June and will continue until a week before the 2006-2007 school year begins.

About 75 to 100 children 17 and under will be fed each day at the Covenant Villas complex in Belle Glade and another group of about 50 will be fed at NOAH’s South Bay complex, according to George Kinsler, Director of Residential Housing Services for NOAH.

The meal program is operated and paid for by the state and distributed through churches and nonprofit organizations. The meals arrive at NOAH daily, already prepared. A local church handles the storing, preparing and delivery.

“We try to target our residents first, but anyone who comes in, if they meet the guidelines we'll feed them,” Kinsler said.
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