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Inspire the Spark. Be the Spark.

Dearest New Directions clients,


As I circled the block radius around my home for the billionth time since COVID began, I saw my first round of robins, purple crocuses peeking out in a neighbors’ yard, and one optimistic five year old cartwheeling in a t-shirt and shorts despite the 41 degree temperature. And in that walk, I was struck by the T.S. Eliot quote, “…in the end of all our exploring [we will] arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”


It’s strange to think of yourself as explorers in this time we were asked to stay home. But that’s precisely what you are. You’ve explored new ways to make ends meet, to connect with loved ones, to work, to teach schoolwork to children, to find a reason to make it through another day.


It’s been nearly a year since the first shut-downs began across our state. We are emerging into spaces we knew from before, before we understood the intricacies of zoom and before we truly understood how precious a hug with a loved one could be. We are essentially arriving at the place where we started a year ago. But we are changed. And we have changed.


I hope that you credit yourself with making it to today. I hope you recognize all of the capacities you discovered within yourself. I hope you continue to count the Center as part of your cheerleading and support section as you March toward tomorrow. And I hope that while it may feel sometimes like you are arriving back at the starting block, you realize you never are.


We become. We are becoming; with every breath, every success, and yes, every setback, we continue to carry ourselves to tomorrow.


With deep respect for your skills, talents, strength and courage,

and with an abiding hope for us all,



For more info or to register: Call 614-849-0029 or email


Workshop Wednesdays: The Center’s Virtual Career Portal offers FREE career development workshops and events. Choose the ones that are best for your journey! Workshops are 1 hour each and delivered over zoom. Check topics out at New Directions website:

  • March 10 – Be Kind to Yourself – The Power of Self-Talk
  • March 17 – Meet the Resource: Homeport Home Buyer Readiness Workshop
  • April 7 – Talk Like a Pro: Practicing Assertive Communication
  • April 14 – Be Your Own Cheerleader – Understanding Self Compassion
  • April 21 – Meet the Resource: Per Scholas Careers in Technology

 2021 E³ Advocacy Program: This nonprofit board training program is for women who have graduated a New Directions program. Please email for application materials due March 31st.


Employer Partners are hiring! Email Jami for more info:


Computer access? Call or email us to use our Computer Lab by appointment.


Want one-on-one support for your career journey? Individual Career Counseling (ICC) and Employment sessions are now available to you at NO COST through June 2021 thanks to the generosity of Center funders. Discuss your career options, practice for interviews, get detailed resume help, and more.


Concerned about housing, utilities, making ends meet? Please reach out! We can assist you to mediate with a landlord, access benefits, connect to emergency financial assistance, and link to a variety of community resources.


“Invest in yourself by participating in programming like those provided by New Directions. The time and energy these programs take to pursue provide all the tools to achieve goals and be successful, but it takes that first step…. to invest in yourself.”

– Jasmine Wooten, New Directions Graduate


In 2016, Jasmine entered the E³ Program at New Directions with a goal of completing her college degree. “The program literally changed my life,” says Jasmine, “The programming and facilitators encouraged me to believe in my own capabilities… It helped me develop a clearer action plan to achieve my goals and the confidence to pursue possibilities.”


Pursue possibilities she did with the completion of an Associate of Arts degree at Columbus State in 2019 and the enrollment in a Bachelor’s of Science and Social Work degree program at The Ohio State University, with an expected graduation date of May 2021. She won’t stop there; Jasmine has applied to graduate school to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work.


Jasmine is passionate about helping others experience the sense of empowerment she felt through the program at New Directions. In her words, “I am passionate about using my knowledge and skills to empower individuals and families; amplifying the voices and experiences of the underrepresented and working to establish lasting positive change within the Columbus community”.


She recently completed the 2020 E³ Advocacy Program, a program designed to prepare women for leadership roles in area non-profit boards and board committees. With her passions, talents, and deep skills sets, we have no doubt that Jasmine creates and will continue to create positive change in our community.


Note: The 2021 E³ Advocacy Program is currently accepting applications. Please email for more information!


“Own your process! Always go with what feels right for you; your journey is your own.”

– Toni Cunningham, New Directions Board Member


In December 2020, Toni Cunningham joined the New Directions board in order to ensure that women get the support they need to live their best lives.


Toni is a transformational leader at the helm of the Columbus location of Per Scholas, a national technology career training organization. In this role, Toni has been honored with multiple accolades, including the BizTech Executive of the Year award presented by Columbus Business First. With a deep set of skills in the fields of workforce development, public service, and program management, Toni is no stranger to understanding the unique difficulties that women and girls face in cultivating strong self-esteem. Toni empathizes, “I am still ‘becoming’…I strive to ensure that all women know their worth and feel equipped to have the lives and careers that they dream of.”


When not in the office, Toni is either spoiling her fur-baby, Zeke, or donning her travelling shoes. She especially loves opportunities to go abroad, as such experiences have helped widen her world-view and expand her vision of how interconnected we all really are.


When asked what she wished to share with clients, Toni responded, “Own your process! Always go with what feels right for you; your journey is your own. Never compare yourself or your experience to anyone else. You are your only competition – be better tomorrow than you are today.”


Toni, we are so thankful to have your wisdom and innovative leadership as part of our Board of Directors. Thank you for being a spark who inspires us!


Note: Per Scholas will be our featured organization for the April 21st Lunch and Learn. Join us to learn more about the amazing and rigorous technology training opportunities available. Register at:  


Named a “Best Place to Work” for over 11 years by outfits such as Columbus Business First, Quantum Health strives to make sure that no one navigates the cost and complexity of healthcare alone. For nearly 10 years, 


Quantum Health has partnered with New Directions to both volunteer in Employer Panels and to hire employees out of our client talent pool.

Quantum Health appreciates that New Directions’ programs set up clients for success, and that many of the clients they have hired are very excited about the opportunities available in their company. Brandi Hinojosa, a top recruiter at Quantum Health identified that one of the things Quantum especially appreciates is, “connecting with a diverse candidate pool… participants in the program have a wide variety of experiences that lend to the many opportunities that [Quantum Health] has available.”


Quantum Health is always searching for empathetic individuals who are excited about helping others. If this matches you, please check out their opportunities in the link below.


Explore opportunities at Quantum Health!  Visit to learn about amazing opportunities. Make sure to let Jami know if you are planning to apply!

  • Scholarship Opportunities for Success (SOS)

SOS’s 2021 scholarship round is now open! SOS provides need-based scholarships up to $5,000 for women. Completed applications must be sent by May 31, 2021. Visit for application materials and additional information.

  • Small Business Grants: National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) have a new initiative to address longstanding challenges (including gender and racial inequality) that small business owner’s face in accessing capital. By distributing grants, the program will offer awards up to $20,000 each, which do not need to be repaid, accompanied by complementary training and mentorship for business owners. Deadline is March 19. Apply here:
  • Internet access subsidy: The FCC has announced a program that allows lower-income families to receive a subsidy towards internet access. This program is new, so registration/ application has not begun yet, but the information is here:   They are also giving up to $100 to buy a computer or tablet.
  • Career interest in healthcare? Godman Guild’s Career Bridges program is paid training to help you prepare! While in training, get the opportunity to earn nationally recognized credentials in Customer Service and Basic Life Support. Email for more information.
  • Want to learn about investing and other wealth-building tools? Check out free OSU-Extension Courses including Home Buyer Education, Money Management, Student Loan Debt, and Investing 101! Register at or contact Susan Colbert at 614-297-3861.