COMMUNITY GEMS: Nonprofit founder helps others over ‘next hurdle’

Founder and chief executive officer of New Beginnings for You focuses on quality of relationships

For Sheri Aldridge, success isn’t measured only by the numbers she serves. It is also the relationships she builds.

The founder and chief executive officer of New Beginnings for You doesn’t believe in a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, the nonprofit organization offers what is needed at the moment by the individual, such as after-school enrichment, job training, clothes, food or simply a safe space.

“Even if we don’t have the solution at that time or the resource, we always make sure they feel heard and seen,” said Aldridge, 48, of Clayton.

While the organization, founded in 2008 and based in downtown Dayton, serves all who need it, the focus is largely on youth and those who surround them, she said. Each month about 60 families are impacted, or more depending on the season. The organization also manages an accredited residential facility that houses up to 18 people.

Aldridge remains optimistic despite the challenges and personal sacrifices, said Marilyn P. Sanderfer, a licensed social worker at NBFY. The Vandalia woman has known Aldridge for three decades, watching her grow from a foster parent to helping even more youth by establishing her organization.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

“She does not give up,” Sanderfer said. “She keeps hope alive.”

Aldridge was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by both Sanderfer and Dasia Donlow, Aldridge’s executive assistant.

Donlow was a teenager when she first met Aldridge about 15 years ago, taking part in an after-school enrichment program where Aldridge was a program administrator. Even then, Donlow noticed her focus on helping others and giving back to the community.

“I love what her mission is and what she stands for,” said Donlow, of the Dayton area.

One of the ways she is sharing her larger vision is through NBFY’s first Expressions of Peace Expo on Sept. 21 at the Dayton Convention Center, with keynote speakers, workshops, panel discussions, entertainment and more. The event, which is expected to occur annually, is meant to foster hope and well-being.

NBFY also is opening two locations of Youtique Boutique – in Vandalia and Dayton – to provide free and affordable clothing that is new or gently used to those who need it.

“She has a lot of different seeds planted that are ready to bloom,” Donlow said.

The importance of giving back to her community was instilled in Aldridge at a young age by her family.

“I cannot remember a time I was not volunteering in my life,” Aldridge said.

While she would like to serve even more people, Aldridge believes that the quality of the impact NBFY can make is more important than the quantity. She wants the people who are served to one day be able to give back to others.

Aldridge said that she is creating an environment that allows others to let down their guard and build their trust.

“We’re going to find out what works for you and do our best to do it – to get through the next hurdle in life – to the best of our ability,” Aldridge said.

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