Every day someone is faced with a life changing decision of having to either endure a seemingly hopeless situation or find themselves out on the street with nowhere to turn. But thanks to non-profit organizations such as A New Leaf, there is a place to turn.
A New Leaf has been extending a helping hand since 1971 when it was founded by educators Dorothy Mitchell and Larry Spears. In the course of tutoring students, they became aware of other needs facing their students and their families, and thus A New Leaf evolved. With twenty different locations around the valley, A New Leaf provides services for thousands of men, women, and children who otherwise would be left without hope. The organization remains committed to the mission “Helping Families…Changing Lives.”
A New Leaf provides homeless shelters such as the East Valley Women’s Center, La Mesita Family Homeless Shelter, and the East Valley Men’s Center, and domestic victim’s shelters such as the Faith Based Domestic Violence Shelter in the west valley and the Autumn House in the east valley. Other services include Affordable Supporting Housing and Youth and Behavioral Services.
The organization looks to the community for help to meet the needs of these shelters and support groups. Donation drives and one-time group projects are good for youth, church and family service projects. Donation drives are on a yearly schedule listed on the website, but donations are needed and welcomed any time according to Bridget Talty, Development Coordinator.
Donations of new items can be taken to La Mesita. They especially need bath towels, twin sheets, non-perishable food, and paper products. Victims of domestic violence most often arrive at a shelter with nothing. These donations not only help during their stay at a shelter but will go with them when they leave and set up their own living space. Donations of pots and pans that are in good condition are also accepted. Eagle Scout projects can include but are not limited to water bottle drives, food drives and especially construction skills. “We are open to any and all ideas for Eagle projects,” says Bridget.
Volunteers to prepare meals and sack lunches for the East Valley Men’s Center’s 94 residents are always needed. Skills such as giving haircuts, legal consultation, dental hygiene, resume and job interview preparation and budget coaching are also needed. Volunteer staff assistance includes front desk and phone help, clerical work, sorting donations, packing food boxes, dispensing basic needs supplies and professional services like graphic design, printing, photography, and video production are especially in demand.
“We depend on the LDS community significantly,” says Bridget, “and you are a huge resource for us. You are friends that we can count on. You come with a kind heart.” She goes on to say that, “A New Leaf couldn’t do all that we do without the help of the community. It’s what makes us able to help others.” Contact Bridget Talty or Margaret Taylor at 480-464-4648 to learn more about scheduling for meals and the sack lunch program or visit www.turnanewleaf.org for information about donation drives and Eagle projects.