For Mark Newsom, Dorothy Day House is a family that provides a path back to a better life.
How did you get involved with Dorothy Day House?
I have been volunteering in support of the homeless in the East Bay since I retired from my business career. I had a friend who volunteered here who invited me to come and help on the Board. Dorothy Day House was growing rapidly, and the team needed help. I served on the Board as Treasurer for a year, and for the last couple of years, I have been the Board President and Treasurer.
Why are you drawn to this type of work in particular?
I believe that I have been very blessed in life. I have been given many advantages, and I feel that I have an obligation to help others who need help. I have much experience in management and administration, and I wanted to use my experience to help make a difference. I believe that careful management and partnerships are the leverage we all can use to be most effective in addressing the complex issue of homelessness. As individuals, we can do a lot, but we can only overcome our problems if we find a way to effectively incorporate our activities.
Dorothy Day isn't a destination for the homeless – it is a place where we help people get to a better place in their life. I believe we are special because we perform team work exceptionally well. We are a great team within our organization, and we are also really involved in a much bigger way. We partner with a significant part of the community of Berkeley, including business groups, individuals, government, and church organizations.
There are many wonderful organizations supporting the unhoused, and Dorothy Day does our work exceptionally well. I think it's because we live and work in accordance with the core values of our organization. At our core, we are an organization that focuses on selfless service.
I also believe that success breeds enthusiasm – seeing our successes, both big and small, makes me want to keep volunteering with Dorothy Day. I love our team, and I love our guests!
Why do you feel comfortable donating to Dorothy Day House?
I am comfortable giving for several reasons. The first is I believe in our mission – "to create a stable foundation for individuals to move toward greater self-sufficiency by providing food, shelter, respect, support, and acceptance." Second, I know that our organization is very effective. We deliver excellent services at a relatively low cost – far more efficiently than most similar agencies. I also feel confident about donating to DDH because I know that our organization is managed well, both fiscally and operationally.
I am confident because I see, firsthand, the effect our organization has on our guests. The most inspiring or meaningful events to me are when I witness people come to us who are demoralized with low self-esteem and - through hard work on their part, support, and mentorship - they have moved on to a new and better life. To me, that kind of resurrection is the goal. There is so much we can do – and we do what we can. Seeing one of our guests experience a metamorphosis into a better life is a reward in and of itself. A great reason to donate!
There are many people out there trying hard during tough times. At Dorothy Day, they can find a place that gives them the support they need. Homelessness is not only the lack of a roof; it is a lack of community and the lack of a family. We can give people shelter and food, which is essential, but moving to a better life is only possible when they can receive the personal support that they need. They get that support here.
If you are interested in partnering with an organization that you can be part of, trust financially, and that delivers positive results for our community every day, then join us and donate to Dorothy Day House.
You can help Dorothy Day House maintain the choice and dignity of each person that comes through our doors. Will you consider contributing to our 10k in 10 Days challenge? You can also set up your own fundraiser with the following link.