Belinda Newkirk, the Employment Counselor in our Employment Center, is new to Pathlight HOME - but not really! In fact, Belinda feels she’s “come back home” to the people, community, passion, and job she loves. That’s because she was Manager of the former Goodwill Job Connection Center, which closed in March 2020. Belinda began working in an Administrative role at Goodwill in 1993. Rising through the ranks, she became Manager when the Job Connection Center opened on W. Colonial Drive and a wonderful partner for Pathlight HOME. “As I continued to work at Goodwill, I found it [employment counseling] was my calling,” she says. “And when an opportunity arose to assist in my community, I jumped on it.” She prayed for an Employment Center opening, “God provided it,” and both Belinda and Pathlight HOME benefitted!
Barbara Jones is Manager of our Sobik’s Subs Café, a social enterprise located at Maxwell Garden. Fresh off of her formal culinary training, with a love of cooking since childhood, Barbara came to us in 2015. Her culinary talents may be why she originally came onboard, yet Barbara believes, “The Lord put me here to do his job. He’s assigning to my hands to help people of all types.” She’s a cheerleader for their successes and loves when residents stop by to share a life happening. It’s a pretty usual sight to see Barbara preparing a sub with a listening ear to the customer’s success or dilemma at the same time. Barbara says “everybody likes to eat,” so conversation and food are a natural pairing. “I have a reason to be here,” she says. “Until HE tells me it’s time to go, I’ll be here!”
Georgina Medina is our Corporate Office Executive Assistant. She is proud that her accounting and bookkeeping role helps Pathlight HOME help others each day. With her professional mission of growing in finance and accounting, her personal “God-given calling” of helping others, and our organization’s mission to change lives, she believes this is right where she belongs. “It’s a beautiful mission,” she says. “It’s great that I came into my field from another country,” says Georgina. “And I know what it feels like to have no place to stay. That’s why I love to see [residents] be restored and renewed.” Georgina strives to do the best she can in her department and has been doing so for five years. “We share the same heart. That’s why I stay.”
Gail Smith, Case Manager for our Homes for New Beginnings Program (HNB), is in her ninth year with us. Gail’s ability to listen, build trust, and encourage HNB residents to “find themselves first” has helped them reclaim life skills, family relationships, work abilities, and more that went by the wayside during their journey into homelessness. Inspiring her clients to find a career or purpose that fulfills them really makes Gail tick. When she sees people achieve their goals, she feels a sense of accomplishment right along with them! “This doesn’t feel like work. It’s natural and exciting for me,” she says. “When you love what you do, it’s easier to push and encourage yourself to do more and achieve your vision. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives…including my own.”
Éclair DeOlivera is our Administrative Assistant at Maxwell Terrace & Maxwell Garden. Humble and hardworking, Éclair has been with Pathlight HOME for 13 years. Hers is usually the first face present and future residents see when they come into our offices. Éclair knows that when people need housing, “They come in stressed. They’re scared and don’t know where to go. I feel compassion and want to help.” Explaining the application, answering queries, and providing referrals when needed are essentials to her. “I want to help any way I can for them to get the housing they need,” she says. “I just love my job,” she explains. “I feel like I’m doing something useful. My job has a purpose. I am helping someone else in the process. I don’t have the need to do anything else!”