As Newgate Mission prepares to reopen its services, new Executive Director NaTusha Howard is hoping to leave her mark as the latest leader of the nonprofit.
Howard started the position in February, but Newgate has not been able to provide the range of services it usually does because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The full services will resume, with a safe number of people in the building, Monday.
“Newgate serves the spiritual, physical, social, emotional and financial needs of the homeless, low-income, and marginalized population in Longview and the surrounding area,” according to the mission’s Facebook page.
The former director, Hollie Bruce, stepped down in December to lead the Women’s Center of East Texas.
“I love Newgate; I think if you have a heart to serve, for me, it’s the greatest place in the world to serve,” Howard said. “I get to be of service to people and meet so many people in our patrons and our volunteers who come from different walks of life. That’s what makes Newgate special — our volunteers.”
The mission has been serving sack lunches and putting out fresh produce and baked goods for people to pick up, she said. Once it can reopen, it will go back to having devotionals, sewing classes, transportation to doctor’s appointments and other services along with Sunday worship.
“For me, success is just measured by the one person who comes back and says, ‘thank you’ or ‘I got a job’ or ‘I’m with my family now,’” she said.
Howard said she hopes she also can bring some new services to the mission. She said she hopes to increase services like medical assistance and having artists volunteer time with the patrons.
A Longview native, Howard graduated from Pine Tree High School in 1991 and has worked in the nonprofit world for many years. She went to Panola College and then Prairie View A&M University and has a master’s in theatre.
Though she lived in California for some time, after becoming a mom she decided to return to Longview and has spent the last 14 years working with nonprofit organizations.
She has served as the director of prevention for the East Texas Council of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and the executive director of Longview Teen Court.
“I have been working in the nonprofit field for a long time,” she said. “I was always familiar with Newgate and the things they did like the gobble wobble fundraiser. I’m definitely excited to be here.”
The board and staff are working together to increase the awareness of the nonprofit, Howard said.
“We’re just here to serve,” she said. “Sometimes I come and I’m talking to the staff, and I’m so exciting I cry. I’m not a crier, but I cry. I thank God for it.”