The housing program of New Beginnings of Central Florida currently shelters 23 people in pursuit of a life change. Residents commit to the hard work of getting their feet back beneath them.

In addition to providing a case manager, a licensed mental health counselor and life skills teachers, New Beginnings has a full-time driver for those living in the homeless rehabilitation program. Lani Wiles drives men, women, and children to doctor’s appointments, to job applications, to the grocery store…wherever they need to go. She estimates that she travels 400 miles every week.

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“Our neighbors in need come to New Beginnings for a fresh start,” says Executive Director Stephanie Harris, “but poverty’s spiral presents obstacles at every turn.”

A full-time driver helps overcome those obstacles. Lani has driven residents to get a drivers’ license reinstated, even helping clients to go to college so they can increase their salary potential. Currently, three residents are enrolled in college classes and three others are pursuing their GED ® certification.

“Driving the men and women wherever they need to go is a vital piece of the puzzle to get their lives back together,” says Lani. “One of the best feelings that I have working at New Beginnings is knowing that I’m part of driving people to self-sufficiency.”

However, the 2 passenger vans are old and often in disrepair. The 1999 Dodge has logged more than 175,000 miles and the 2001 Ford has 161,000 miles. Regularly, one or the other sits broken down in the office parking lot, awaiting attention from a volunteer mechanic to fix brakes, transmission, and more.

The organization is trying to raise $50,000 for a new vehicle. Help New Beginnings by giving generously toward a newer, safer vehicle at All donations are tax deductible.

Since January of this year, New Beginnings has helped 1,809 families and 6,550 individuals at weekly Saturday outreaches and in their three social services locations (Clermont, Winter Garden and Kissimmee). The organization has distributed 2,675 bags of emergency groceries to people in need. The organization relies heavily on volunteers and community support – more than 11,820 hours have been donated by volunteers in the first five months of 2018.

Another way to get involved is to join the growing team of sponsors or register as a golfer at the Steve Smith Charity Golf Classic on September 28, 2018. The golf tournament is one of three annual fundraisers to benefit New Beginnings of Central Florida. For more information, visit


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