NOAH - Neighbors Organized for Adequate Housing
July 2010 · Issue XIX


Header NOAH Retreat

At NOAH’s retreat, where staff’s top managers report to the board about the accomplishments in their divisions and what resources they need to do more, Board Chair Edna McClendon was already thinking about next year. 

“What we’ll be doing next year at this time is celebrating our accomplishments,” the confident leader said, happy to have made it through a tough year and a brutal economy. Rebuilding is what she had in mind.

“We are purging and refocusing, we have no time to waste,” McClendon said. “If you’re on board and you’re not of the mindset to get things done, you need to go. We’ve got to have people who are willing to run and run very quickly to get the job done. They need to have the spirit of excellence and rigor ... Our senior people are key when it comes to making sure we have the right people on the bus. Read more »



Hands Matilda Edwards, director of the Mary Alice Fortin Family Development Center, shared a letter written by the parent of a child who was being taken from the center because the family was leaving the area.

The mother wrote how her child was unwelcome at other centers because of communicative and behavioral problems and how she had no place to turn when she was referred to NOAH.  After meeting with Edwards about her son, he was accepted into the Fortin center.

St. Patrick's Day“I was left with no other options ... against all odds, you accepted him.... Since coming to your center, it’s been nothing short of miraculous,” she wrote.

Staff attitude toward the child made all the difference, the mother said. When she dropped him off, “he ran straight to Miss Lewis and hugged her.” And when she picked him up, he always waved goodbye. He was actually happy to be there, unlike at other day care centers.

“Before, all I used to get were incident reports,” the mother wrote. But members of NOAH’s staff truly cared about her child, and he felt that and it changed him, the letter said. “We are sad to be leaving your center.”

Children's DayThe letter received an ovation from those attending NOAH’s annual retreat where Edwards read the letter. It was just one more example of the difference NOAH makes for families in the Glades.

Highlighted by the graduation of seven students in NOAH’s child care programs -- five from the Fortin center and two from Building Blocks -- NOAH kept up its usual busy schedule of activities for kids in the program.

On March 16, the pre-K class went to South Bay City Hall for the hanging of hand prints of the local child care facilities. The pre-K class performed "We Make Learning Fun" in English and Spanish, read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear."

Easter Party On March 17, they celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a party that included games, face painting, arts and craft activities. 

On April 2, The Fortin center held its annual Easter Egg Hunt Celebration and the kids shared treats with classmates. 

On April 14, the children attended a Picnic at Rardin Park in Pahokee for Children's Week. 

On May 6, moms were invited in for a Mother's Day Luncheon/Parent Meeting. On the menu was sliced turkey, whole wheat bread, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, Mandarin oranges and milk. 

Mother's Day Speaking of healthy foods, on May 27, Mrs. Gerri Shelton, Program Assistant at UF Cooperative Extension, did a presentation of MyPyramid with the pre-K class, teaching them about nutrition as they munched on salsa dip which the children really enjoyed very much.




Mother's DayFormer County Commissioner Maude Ford Lee, Palm Beach State College and the American Cancer Society have what in common? That’s easy: Service to the community. So what do they have to do with NOAH?

In a relationship-building exercise led by workshop facilitator Dr. J. Otis Smith during NOAH’s annual retreat, he broke participants into groups, primarily mixing staff with board members to get people familiar with others in the room who they did not know well.

He gave each group the task of naming a person or institution in Florida that each member of the group knew. Group members would have to give details on what they admired about the person or institution.

Every person or organization chosen was known for providing a service to the community, including the three examples above.

The fact that service providers -- whether people or institutions -- are most admired among NOAH’s leaders is reflective of how those leaders see themselves and their roles in the community -- as service providers. It shows their work is where their passion is. People tend to emulate those they admire and NOAH leaders admire people and institutions with a track record of aggressive and passionate leadership. It sheds light on the admirable service track record that continues to develop from NOAH’s own leaders. Read more »




Stacy EdwardsNOAH’s Board Chair Edna McClendon often talks about getting the right people on the bus to get the organization moving in the right direction, and Stacy Edwards has strapped herself in a prominent seat ready for a long, vigorous and fulfilling ride.

Edwards joined the staff about six months ago, after waiting at the NOAH bus stop for more than a year -- that’s about how long she had been persistently applying to join the organization. She was a bank teller who wanted to do more and be a part of an organization that was serving the community.

“I was looking for a corporation or an organization where I could exhaust all of the areas I’m competent in,” she said, speaking particularly of her management skills and resourcefulness in helping others.

NOAH hired her as a Safety Net Coordinator, and she served as an advocate for NOAH residents in that role. If someone had a problem meeting rent or paying a utility bill, she would seek out agencies to help them. Read more »



Jeanette Keaton-Plair, who in the past supervised NOAH’s mentor program, was hired March 9 as NOAH Development Inc.’s Housing Manager for Covenant Villas, the 144-unit complex in Belle Glade.

She went through training for Certified Housing Manager and was notified in June that she passed the course and was waiting for her certificate to arrive in the mail. But it’s not like she waited for the certificate to get to work.

With the assistance of Diana Anderson, she has worked very hard to get the complex occupied at full capacity. They've already had two residents meetings and completed inspections of 90 percent of the units by mid-June.

“We are presently moving forward with renovations and much needed repairs,” she said. Covenant Villas is NOAH’s largest housing complex and managing it is no small task. Keaton-Plair is one of the new managers NOAH turned to in its push for new leadership that would bring an infectious enthusiasm to the organization’s core values.