If you’ve been around the Newhouse community, you’re sure to have seen one of Newhouse’s greatest advocates: Christopher Stibbs. Chris serves as Newhouse’s Director of Philanthropic Engagement. His Newhouse roots run deep, and today, he is one of our most vocal fans, advocates and community builders. 

“I’m just one person. Together, we’re building an army that says ‘no more violence.’ We can create change.” 

Meet Chris. 

Chris’ Newhouse Connection

While studying at Rockhurst, a chance stumbling upon a Newhouse brochure ignited Chris’ passion for the organization. “I knew nothing about domestic violence,” he says. “I was looking for somewhere to volunteer . . . if I hadn’t come across this brochure, my whole trajectory could have been different!” 

After discovering Newhouse in 2013, he began volunteering to work the hotline. Over the years, he went on to work part time for Newhouse and serve on its YP Board, before finally joining the Newhouse team full time in March 2019. In that time, he graduated from Rockhurst with his undergrad and master’s degrees, and also served as a fundraiser at another shelter. 

His Role at Newhouse 

You’ll find Chris working on several key initiatives expanding the Newhouse community. From fundraising and cultivating corporate donors, to managing special events and sharing the Newhouse Story  . . . Chris’s goal is to connect and grow Newhouse. 

“It’s always on my mind,” Chris says. “I’m a big networker, and I love meeting new people. I love connecting with people in the community who are passionate about their work. I get to share my passion for my work. Then, we find ways to work together.” 

What he loves about Newhouse

Newhouse clients fuel Chris’ work. “When I see them rise from the impacts of trauma .  . . I see them get their first apartment, get their licence, achieve their GED. I’m honored to hear these stories of client success, and then I get to share those success stories with community members.” 

His passion for Domestic Violence

“Domestic violence survivors have been left in the shadows over the years. I get the chance to shine a light and be a voice for survivors.” 

“This is so much more than a job for me. This work has to be done. We have to raise awareness.”

What are your hidden talents or hobbies you would like to share? 

Chris enjoys his sand volleyball community, which he has also rallied to help support Newhouse with our Digs Against Domestic Violence annual event. “I love to get self care & exercise. I’ve met so many people playing sand volleyball . . . now they are attending Newhouse events, donating, even having their companies sponsor Newhouse.” 

Newhouse in One Word

“It’s not grammatically correct . . . but ‘in-powerment,’” he says. “When we ‘in-power,’ we are helping clients unlock the power and strength within them that they have always had.” 

“We are not saviors. We’re walking side-by-side with survivors. We are just a small part of their journey. We support them as they find the power and strength within them.” 

Connect with Chris 

Are you looking to support Newhouse? Give Chris a call or email. He’d love to spend 15 minutes with you to show you the power of Newhouse ‘in-powering’ survivors’ lives. You can impact them, too.

[email protected]  // 402-612-2764 

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Thank you, Chris, for being a dedicated member of Team Newhouse and advocate for our mission. We are grateful for you! 

Clarencetta O. has served on Team Newhouse for nearly ten years. She began as a shelter advocate and now serves as outreach case manager. “I love my work,” she says. “It’s truly a calling.” 

Overcoming Obstacles 

Because domestic violence is often intertwined with barriers of racism, financial insecurity and trauma, survivors often face an uphill battle when securing housing for themselves and their families. Many clients have experienced evictions, dings on their credit reports or misdemeanor charges due to effects of domestic violence. 

In her role as outreach case manager, Clarencetta helps Newhouse clients get into housing seamlessly. 

“I work with the landlord and let them know our clients are starting a new life,” she says. “I explain about their past trauma and help them get a second chance. Survivors and their families deserve a new start in life.” 

Survivors and their families deserve a new start in life. 

Survivor Resilience

Clarencetta has witnessed story after story of survivors’ success. She knows survivors who were at Newhouse several years ago who now have finished their education, finished college, own homes and have thriving families. 

“Some are RNs some work in the business field,” she says. “Now, they come back and encourage clients in the shelter. They help others get back on their feet again.” 

Her passion for serving domestic violence survivors 

“I am passionate because there is a strong need, care, love and understanding. We all have setbacks in our life and have to move forward from there. I love helping. That is my passion. I love providing all that we can give at Newhouse.” 

How she describes Newhouse

“Newhouse is a second chance in life. It’s a start over. Here, we have a mission, we have an awesome, caring, compassionate staff. We work hard as a team,to give survivors the second chance they deserve.” 

Her words for survivors

“Let us help you. Come in and work with us. Call us. We have an excellent team. Awesome therapists, recovery counselors, advocates we’re here or you. Call in when you feel comfortable to receive what’s here for you.” 

Thank you, Clarencetta, for your commitment and service to Newhouse survivors. You make our mission possible, and we are grateful for you. 

Meet Katilin D, Lead Shelter Advocate at Newhouse. Kaitlin has been serving at Newhouse since 2015. 

“I love working with our clients every single day. It makes me so happy to come in and interact with everyone, especially getting to watch our clients grow and change!” Kaitlin says. 

If I could describe Newhouse in one word, it would be transformational. I love watching our clients grow and develop their skills gives me hope that we are on the path to breaking the cycle of domestic violence! It is especially rewarding when clients recognize the red flags in new relationships. “

Outside of Newhouse, you can find Katilin reading, cuddling with my cats, and competing on a trivia team with my friends. Thank you, Kaitlin, for being a valued member of Team Newhouse!

 

Newhouse’s school is one of the most unique, innovative programs we’ve created throughout our history. We are the only shelter in Kansas City that offers an onsite school, making all the difference for many families and kids who spend their time with us. At the school’s helm? Erin Wilson, Newhouse’s founding School Teacher. With her 25+ years of experience as a certified elementary and special education teacher, Erin built the Newhouse school program from the ground up. Today, Erin continues to innovate and impact the next generation. “I would do anything for the kids,” she says. Meet Erin.  

Newhouse Connection

Erin grew up in the Kansas City area and attended Avila University. During a college education class, she discovered her heart for kids at-risk after visiting a state school. “That’s when I knew . . . this is what I want to do.” 

Erin earned her degree in elementary and special education and then went to work for several schools, mostly in alternative settings. In 2012, a friend who worked for Newhouse contacted her about a teaching job for the brand new school the shelter. Erin jumped at the opportunity. 

School resources were scarce in the beginning days, but Erin was determined to ensure kids had access to books, computers and necessary school supplies. 

“Now, I’m so proud to see that as an agency, we are so invested in the kids’ programs just as much as the adult programs,” she says. “Everyone, staff and community, are investing in resources and really helping out.”

A Relational, Safe Space 

Kids who live in domestic violence shelters are often bullied at public school.  

Additionally, kids can be two to three years behind grade-level wise in school and struggling due to trauma, abuse, learning disabilities, substance abuse and different diagnoses like autism and ADHD. 

That’s why Newhouse’s onsite school is so critical. Erin works directly with the children’s therapists, children case managers, and parents in a team-approach to individualize the children’s learning and development programs. 

“Other kids find out and make fun of shelter kids because they have to take a cab to school.” Additionally, it’s unsafe for children be alone in a cab with an unknown adult. 

“In our small environment, the kids don’t have to hide who they are anymore,” she says. “They don’t have to hide that they can’t add or they can’t read. They can be themselves, and we are all here to help.”  We are about empowering the children and educating them so hopefully they can break the cycle of violence.

Empowering the Next Generation

Group work creates greater self esteem for the kids at the shelter. For example, the children’s team at Newhouse enjoys celebrating all occasions like birthdays and holidays to the max. 

Newhouse children’s teams also utilize DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, an evidence-based treatment to help equip children who struggle with big feelings to manage their behaviors. 

School’s constant presence in the children’s life is vital. 

“Every day, their teacher is there,” Erin says. “There is security and comfort. Education is so key to breaking the cycle of violence. Kids can then get jobs and have economic security. It can give them a sense of power or control over their own life.” 

Her passion for domestic violence

“Domestic violence can touch anybody, and it affects everybody,” she says.  “I would love people to see Newhouse and understand how much of a difference our staff makes with residents.”

“The most wonderful part about being at Newhouse has been the team-approach. We all design the program together; we’re never alone. We have amazing direct service staff. When we’re struggling, the team is there to help support each other.” 

Outside Newhouse

Outside of work, Erin enjoys spending time with her family and nieces. She loves breaking out of escape rooms, volunteering at shelters and her favorite place is, by far, the beach. As for her hobbies? Sand volleyball, and during the covid pandemic, she has been learning how to crochet. 

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Thank you, Erin, for being a valued and critical member of Team Newhouse. We are grateful for your dedication, innovation and passion for changing lives and the next generation during your time here. We look forward to all the ways we’ll continue to #breakthecycle, together. 

Meet more members of Team Newhouse here.

Meet Cecilia G, Shelter Advocate at Newhouse. Cecilia is a on the frontline supporting and connecting survivors to vital resources.  

“My favorite part about working at Newhouse is seeing the joy on the clients face when they are finally being assisted with things that they’ve had difficulty with in the past,” Cecilia says. “We help survivors with court processes assistance, applying for Medicaid, or even clothing for themselves and their kiddos.”

If I could describe Newhouse in one word, it would be essential. We are one of the only shelters that accepts anyone fleeing domestic violence regardless of gender identity or gender expression. Additionally, we are one of the shelters that accepts men into shelter, which is such an important service to provide because of the stigma that exists around men experiencing domestic violence.”

Outside of Newhouse, you can find Cecilia working on graduate coursework or reading journal articles on different psychological processes. Thank you, Cecilia, for being a valued member of Team Newhouse!

 

Meet Emily Harris, Shelter Advocate at Newhouse. Her role is critical to the mission of Newhouse — answering hotline calls, screening new residents, cleaning and setting up rooms, providing essential items to residents and much more.

“My favorite part about working for Newhouse is watching the journey our residents go through while they are here in shelter,” Emily says. “Making a relationship with residents and seeing their successes, such as getting a job, being approved for housing or getting reunited with their children, is so exciting. Even though they still go through hard times and face a lot of obstacles while they are here, I love being able to be a source of encouragement for them.”

“If I could describe Newhouse in one word it would be challenging. I used to see this word as negative or intimidating, but after seeing the results of so many people overcoming some of the biggest challenges in their life I only see it as an opportunity for greatness.  Not much of what we do here is easy, but it is worth it without a doubt. Staff challenges one another to constantly be the best we can be for our residents, just as we challenge our residents to be the best they can be for themselves and their family. “

Outside of Newhouse, you can find Emily spending quality time with her family and friends. Thank you, Emily, for being a valued member of Team Newhouse!