NOAH - Neighbors Organized for Adequate Housing
September 2008 · Issue XIII
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MESSAGE FROM THE RETREAT: SOLID DIVIDENDS EARNED FROM HARD WORK

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Executive Director Thomas Roberts injected news of breakthroughs into emotional comments that made for a stirring address to the staff and Board of Directors at NOAH's summer retreat, held June 27-29, 2008. Among the announcements:

  • After three years of delays, the reconstruction of the hurricane damaged apartments in Pahokee, the Amaryllis Gardens Housing development, would begin June 30, 2008.
  • The day before the retreat, NOAH's Healthy Families Program was selected to be the sole provider of parenthood-preparedness services in the Glades area.
  • The construction of new homes in Belle Glade would begin in July 2008, despite a situation that might have halted the project until July 2009.
  • NOAH completed the purchase of land in the Radarville section of Belle Glade to begin construction of additional homes.

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NOAH FINANCIAL STAFF MEMBERS RETIRE

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McClendon, Roberts & BethNOAH's financial office took a hit this year when Fiscal Director William Fuller and Fiscal Assistant Elizabeth Kelly decided to retire. Though sad to see them go, NOAH administrators bid them a fond farewell at the retreat.

"We are so happy to recognize two people who have done an excellent job for us at NOAH," said Edna McClendon, who chairs NOAH's Board of Directors.

Roberts & Fuller

 

"Bill, you've done a wonderful job for us," McClendon told Fuller, who was presented a plaque which was read by Executive Director Thomas Roberts: "Presented this 27th day of June 2008 to William T. Fuller, Jr. in recognition and appreciation of your nine years of untiring service rendered to NOAH."

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SUPPORTER NOTES NOAH IS THE COUNTY'S OLDEST COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

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NOAH Executive Director Thomas Roberts took time during the organization's June 2008 retreat in Delray Beach to thank the businesses and agencies that support NOAH's efforts to improve housing and empower individuals. Representatives of two supporting partners attended the banquet.

Annetta JenkinsJuanita GadsenAnnetta Jenkins, senior program director at South Florida Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and the keynote speaker at last year's retreat, attended along with Juanita Gadsen of the Community Financing Consortium.

"I really appreciate the opportunity to come and break bread with you all," Jenkins said. "It is so impressive to see the camaraderie and the spirit of team ship that you all have as board and staff and supporters, and we are just so proud at LISC to be associated with you in doing the work.

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'OH THE PLACES THEY'LL GO'

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NOA KidsThe anticipation of graduation brings students the excitement of new careers and job opportunities — even if they are graduating from the pre-K program at NOAH's child development centers.

Ten graduates from NOAH's Building Blocks Infant and Family Development Center and the Mary Alice Fortin Family Development Center had their milestone marked with a peek at their possible futures.

"As a gift to the graduates for doing so well, we took them to Wannado City," said Matilda Edwards, director of the child development centers.

NOAH Kids 2At Wannado City in Sunrise, Florida, kids can be whatever they want to be. They travel to different stations and learn about different professions in kid-sized settings. Some of them choose the courtroom; others choose medical facilities.

Wannado City says: "From paleontologist to news reporter, to everything in between, kids try out tons of grown-up jobs in the first indoor city just their size. They can operate on a patient, cook up a pizza or even solve a crime."

NOAH KidsNOAH directors are always trying to point children on paths of success, and it's never too early to get the children to think big and positive and about their futures. That's why their June 6 graduation ceremony at Pioneer Terrace in Belle Glade had the theme of "Reaching for the Stars."

Father's DayThe children were kept busy throughout the summer. Several of the dads joined the children on June 13 for a Father's Day lunch.

Always with an emphasis on reading, the children made another visit to the Clarence E. Anthony Branch Library in South Bay on July 24.

Water DayOn July 31, the children enjoyed a fun in the sun day playing water games and other games like bean bag toss. The kids usually look forward to this day each year because Edwards brings out her water sprinklers for some cool, wet fun.

The "Putting Kids First Back-to-School Bash” on Aug. 16 at the Bill Bailey Community Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Belle Glade got the kids ready for school. The event was sponsored by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, and the kids were given backpacks and school supplies.

The children are looking forward to a Sept. 19 trip to the Miami Seaquarium.

SHAWN BYNUM HELPS GET YOUNG ADULTS THROUGH PARENTHOOD

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Shawn Bynum has three daughters, but she's taking care of a much larger family.

Shawn BynumBynum is the supervisor of NOAH's parenting education program which serves about 15 parents and their children. She has become somewhat of a mother figure to her clients but extends her reach to others.

She was featured on the front page of The Palm Beach Post in an article about teens coping with the economic downturn — issues she confronts every day. She also received an award for recruiting about 30 youth in just a couple of days for the Florida National Guard and Armory's About Face summer employment program. "It felt really good to help because I know times are hard," she said.

Most of her time is spent educating parents. "Our focus is on teen parents, but I teach classes to any parent — young or old, male or female. I do this through my own lectures, through video, or my absolute favorite way to do this, is through guest speakers. They are very passionate about what they do, and they are fantastic."

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BOARD MEMBER SPOTLIGHT - NANCY SMITH

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OCCUPATION: Retired school teacher who spent most of her career teaching pre-K classes to children in migrant families.

PERSONAL: Lives in Belle Glade and has been married for 50 years to Barnes G. Smith, a retired part owner of a lumber company. They have three grown children who also have grown children.

POSITION WITH NOAH: Director

ABOUT BELLE GLADE: We found it was a very good place to raise our children.

QUOTE: At one time, Belle Glade had very little to offer in homes or apartments for people to rent. They just weren't available. I came when I was in high school with my parents. We had a tough time trying to find a place to live. We had to live in a small trailer.

HOW I BECAME INVOLVED WITH NOAH: I was good friends with Betsy Farrar, one of the founders. I was in on one of the first meetings, but my church tried to help take care of housing and so I contributed through my church, St. John the Apostle Episcopal Church. About five years later, I became directly involved.

THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING FOR NOAH IS: Getting to know people I would have not known otherwise.

MY VISION FOR NOAH: I hope that we will continue to keep the homes in good quality condition. Belle Glade is not an easy place for homes. We have the weather and storms and the muck. You have to build a very sturdy foundation.

I AM MOST PROUD OF: Having all of these very lovely complexes; seeing these buildings being built, and we're trying to keep them so they are in good condition. Also, being a teacher, I'm very excited we have the pre-schools for the children.