New Life Center gala

Skipp Peeples, Ginny Solis-Wright, Deborah Charlesworth, Karen Ortega Maston, Mike Weinstein, Myriah Mhoon and David Schwake attended the New Life Center gala.

New Life Center is one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the country. Based in Goodyear, it serves around a thousand children and adults annually through an emergency shelter. It provides outreach support programs working with victims and their families in an effort to help them escape an abusive cycle. 

Myriah Mhoon has been the CEO of New Life Center for 18 months, and her passion for her job is with the victims and the myriad of services it provides for them.

“We are a 120-day program. We are providing services of safety planning, we have case management, we have a legal advocacy program to support our clients going through the legal system. They (victims) have a connection to housing after they stay with us, we have a job readiness program, we have a crisis hotline 24/7.”

New Life Center began in 1991, but it was able to build its campus in 2000 and has been part of the West Valley community since, Mhoon said. It is distinguished in the number of young victims it works with.

“We are supporting the whole family free themselves from an abusive situation. We are unique in our shelter because 70% of the clients in the shelter are actually children fleeing domestic violence situation with their adult parents.”

But supporting these services is not cheap, and New Life Center relies on fundraisers to support its system. It hosted its Starry Night Gala Friday, Nov. 8, to bring the community together to raise funds for the shelter. Funds from the event at the Arizona Biltmore go directly to the center’s various programs including advocacy and outreach.

The gala consisted of a three-course meal, wine, entertainment, inspirational survivor stories, as well as a live auction and raffle tickets. Mhoon said the gala is more sustainable than previous events and she was excited to be a part of it.

“Instead of previous years where we were doing five-year pledges, which gave us a really hard time to truly forecast the money coming in from the event and making sure we were valuing the time and commitment to host an event.

“So, doing the gala was truly my intent to just streamline and make sure we were stewarding the dollars coming in more appropriately than we have in the past.”

New Life Center will continue to need proper funding because domestic abuse has been a social problem for quite some time, and it continues to be one. 

“It was an issue 20 years ago, 10 years ago and it is still a very prevalent issue, not only in Arizona but nationally,” Mhoon said. “I always say domestic violence is not a women’s issue, but a community issue of making sure we are supporting survivors or victims, currently in these situations with resources.”

New Life Center, however, doesn’t just focus on the victims but their families as well. In fact, it is concerned with anyone who may be affected by an abusive relationship. Mhoon said these type of family dynamics often affects children.

“It trickles into the lives of the children bearing witness to that sort of corporate perpetration within their own house,” Mhoon said. “It truly affects the whole family and we have to continue to support those who are trying to flee and escape a domestic violence situation.”

Having been in the Valley for almost two decades, New Life Center continues to grow and spread its services. It is currently in the process of remodeling and the cafeteria and laundry room and its staff hopes to continue to bring the updates.

It has recently expanded beyond domestic abuse.

“We just became a dual service agency, which means we are serving victims of domestic violence and sexual violence,” Mhoon said. “We are also working with law enforcement and prosecutors statewide to support and coordinate their training regarding sexual assault investigation.” 

Mhoon said New Life Center has found success in helping victims of domestic abuse and it is those stories she wants people who are still victims of volatile relationships to know about. 

“We’ve had so many success stories of women and men hold their own empowerment to truly escape and get out of a violent situation with New Life Center, acting as a support to them to go through the steps to make sure they are safe and free,” Mhoon said. 

New Life Center is an organization fueled by the passion of its community and dedicated to help those in need of guidance and services. Mhoon said she wants people to know they are available to help and the shelter is grateful of the community it serves.

“We truly can’t do the work without the West Valley and we are so appreciative to what the West Valley has truly done,” Mhoon said. “I am just here to make sure it sustains and continues to become one of the most sustainable nonprofits in the West Valley, and it’s just an honor to steward this agency in my leadership role.”

For more information on New Life, call 623-925-0965 or visit newlifectr.org.