Submitted by New Beginnings Of Central Florida

Volunteers and Supporters of New Beginnings gathered for their Annual Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast to honor and award their greatly appreciated services. Jenny Hightower welcomed everyone by sharing, “We are honored to be able to recognize so many community members, partners, and volunteers. Each one of you are living examples of our New Beginnings core values. You each have shared a servant’s heart with unconditional love, a strong prayer life, humility, and integrity. We thank you for allowing us to honor and serve you today.”

Each volunteer received a beautiful wall plaque, while several people received extra special honors. Amy Thomas was awarded with the big annual Servant’s Heart Award. The Doreen Metcalf Award was presented to Paul Elliott. Crossroads Impact Church received the Extraordinary Leadership Award.  United Healthcare and the Bright Care Group were awarded with the Community Partner Award.

Pictured: Steve Smith, Amy Thomas, and Linda Smith. 

Amy Thomas shared, “I am a proud volunteer with New Beginnings. My journey with New Beginnings started a few years ago and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I was a regular shopper at the Thrift Store and saw a sign that they needed volunteers. New Beginning’s mission statement is to Empower people to live a responsible life. I see this mission statement come to life time and time again when I volunteer there. Volunteering here allows me to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. I came to help improve other people’s lives, yet my life has been changed tenfold for the better. Everyone you meet at New Beginnings has a servant’s heart. My experience has given me the ability to make a positive impact a sense of community and personal growth. I remain passionate about volunteering with New Beginnings.”

Co-Founder Linda Smith shared, “We are very proud of our New Beginning team and volunteers who share our faith-based ministry, mission, and goals to share our compassion for one another. With help from our valuable community volunteers, we share their talents to serve our clientele with counseling, education, and life skills.”

New Beginnings thrives on the compassion and generosity of those willing to donate their time, talents, and treasures. Each year, they log in thousands of volunteer hours from dedicated community members. By volunteering with New Beginnings, your time and talents make a transformative impact on the lives of those in need. At New Beginnings, volunteerism means giving back with a hand up to help others with kindness. Volunteers have always been proudly recognized as the heartbeat of their faith-based mission to help the homeless and the needy.

An array of different community groups like Building Blocks, Servant Hearts, Gus Gizzard Real Estate, Orlando Health, and the Lake Sumter State College have organized teams of volunteers to come once each day, month, or year.

CEO and Executive Director Steve Smith notes, “To us, volunteerism means building bridges of connection while fostering empathy, to create a positive rippling effect throughout our community. It’s all about standing together, hand in hand to support and uplift one another on the journey to becoming a responsible person.”

New Beginnings still needs more volunteers to organize and stock the Thrift Store, sort donated clothing, greet customers, mentor residents, provide educational workshops, literacy training, job readiness training, yard maintenance, painting, and administrative duties as well as to help with their emergency food pantry, special events and to join their Prayer Team.

Pictured – Jeremy Elliott and Jenny Hightower.

Community Relations Director Jeremy Elliott adds, “Our volunteers have become 100% family. Their unwavering commitment, selflessness and compassion have touched countless lives and transformed communities. Their dedication to service stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration. We extend our deepest appreciation to our volunteers whose collaborative efforts have made our mission possible.”

New Beginnings of Central Florida, remains a 501-C3 non-profit faith-based ministry, co-founded by Steve and Linda Smith. For more information about volunteer opportunities, fill out an application at or contact 352-404-6946. Visit their New Beginnings Thrift Store at 415 Citrus Tower Boulevard in Clermont, FL 34711. Follow New Beginnings on Facebook at

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