New Beginnings of Central Florida is celebrating 17 years of successful milestones supporting needy families and the homeless. Executive Director Steve Smith shared, “As co-founders, Linda and I are sincerely grateful for the community support we have received for our ministry to help those in need. We appreciate our staff and volunteers as well as the many donors, sponsors, awards, and honors we have received to provide counseling and affordable housing for homeless families.”
After being completely inspired by finding a homeless man after a church service in 2007, New Beginnings was first launched by Steve & Linda Smith with 12 volunteers in South Lake County. In 2008, they opened a home with training classes for 6 homeless men. In 2009, they changed their primary focus to moms and children to help face the expanding needs of the area homeless. That same year they acquired the 26-bed Mulberry Inn for single mothers and children, while opening their first New Beginnings Thrift Store in Minneola. In 2010, New Beginnings started a formal Mentoring Training Program for all residents. They then launched Helping Hands Outreach Program with various churches. This was the first year they proudly received their first Golden Mickey Award, with honors for their outstanding community service.
In 2011, New Beginnings created 6 new community outreach events to increase awareness of the need to help our homeless. In 2012, they opened their second Thrift Store in the Four Corners area with a counseling office and a food pantry. That year, they dramatically expanded their Helping Hands Outreach Program with numerous churches. In 2013, New Beginnings opened its first Learning & Development Center in Lake County while also acquiring the 12-bed Bicycle Inn for homeless men. In 2014, they opened a third Thrift Store and Outreach Center in Winter Garden. They then acquired 4-plex apartments for formerly homeless families. They also acquired 10 acres to build 96 affordable housing apartments in Clermont that year.
In 2015, New Beginnings acquired a 2.5-acre land parcel for a larger Thrift Store with corporate offices and rental office space for like-minded non-profit organizations in South Lake County. In 2016, they acquired a 7-bed duplex for working graduates of the New Beginnings program. Plus, the Florida Housing Commission awarded New Beginnings and their partners $19 million for the much-needed expansion of affordable housing. In 2017, New Beginnings was again given another Golden Mickey Award for the 8th consecutive year, even though Disney retired giving out this award after that year. They also celebrated their 10th Anniversary at the Mulberry Inn.
From 2018 to 2022, New Beginnings opened the Woodwinds as an award-winning luxury-style 96-unit apartment community for low-income and homeless families. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they continued with their best efforts to serve the homeless and needy with a limited staff, following nationally imposed safety and health guidelines. In 2021, the founders returned to rebuild and reorganize New Beginnings after Covid. They immediately moved 2 homeless mothers with 7 children into our duplex.
In 2023, New Beginnings designed a comprehensive plan to build New Beginnings Village, add more transitional housing, and to again re-launch their Hands Up Program with new staff and services. They were awarded numerous grants and funding to build the New Beginnings Village, while they secured final approval from the city to build it all. They were greatly honored and awarded with GuideStar’s Highest Platinum Seal of Transparency. New Beginnings was then awarded an important Empowerment Grant from the Live Well Foundation. They held a successful record-breaking 13th Annual Golf Tournament & 13th Annual Dancing Under the Stars events. New Beginnings Village construction started.
Now in 2024, New Beginnings of Central Florida remains dedicated to helping the homeless and less fortunate in Central Florida while transforming their lives through counseling, life, and computer skills with job training that will lead to a sustainable wage job and an affordable home for every person they can reach with their Hands Up Program.
New Beginnings will be happy to share their mission with you. They still need people to donate food, your time, and talent as volunteers, as well as to donate treasures for their Thrift Store. Steve Smith notes, “We invite you to volunteer your time to help us transform lives. We need your talents to expand our ministry work. Your donated financial treasures will become an important investment in helping someone’s life. One of the many areas of need is food. During the holidays and school breaks our families struggle to provide the extra food for the children who would usually get their extra meals while at school. With your help, our Case Managers will continue to provide food bags for our community in need.”
New Beginnings of Central Florida, is a 501-C3 non-profit faith-based ministry. They seek volunteers, donations, and community support.to empower people to live responsible life being self-sufficient. For more information, call 352-404-6946 or visit their Thrift Store at 415 Citrus Tower Boulevard in Clermont, FL 34711. Visit: www.nbcfl.org. and follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/NewBeginningsofCentralFlorida/.