Spotlight on LaJonna Newsome: New Pathway of Hope Case Manager, North Corps Community Cent
With more than 13 years of experience as a certified nursing assistance and medication aide, and five years as administrative assistant at The Salvation Army’s North Corps Community Center in North Omaha, LaJonna Newsome knows how to care for people who are navigating tough times.
“I’m a people person,” said Newsome. “I like helping people.”
Beginning this month, she’ll be putting those people-helping skills to good use as the North Corps Community Center’s first-ever case manager on staff, helping to guide people out of financial and personal crises and onto a pathway of hope.
Newsome, who grew up in North Omaha and has been a member of The Salvation Army church at North Corps since she was a child, knows the community inside and out.
“It’s family here,” she said. “All the officers I’ve known since I was young have each brought me closer to God. They’ve taught me how to help others through the Lord.”
Newsome has worn many hats in her role as administrative assistant at North Corps. Not only does she manage multiple administrative tasks, she can also often be found praying with community members who come to the corps for the free lunch program, helping to prepare and serve meals in the kitchen, supervising middle schoolers in the after-school program and offering a listening ear or a word of encouragement to anyone who walks through North Corps’ doors.
As North Corps’ first Pathway of Hope case manager, Newsome will work with individuals and families to help them get the resources they need -- from mental health support to education to job assistance –not just to survive, but to thrive.
“Lajonna is uniquely gifted in helping others feel better,” said Lt. Marsha Williams-Miller, officer at North Corps. “I have seen her validate others, help them rebuild their trust in humanity and rise above deep brokenness in their lives. I think North Omaha will agree with me when I say we are the lucky ones that get to share the gift of who LaJonna is.”
Newsome is grateful that North Corps offers programs that meet basic needs – like food and material assistance – which serve as an important foundation, giving people the security and stability they need in order to take the next big step.
“We start with feeding people first,” she explained. “Once we feed them, we get them in here, through the doors, and we start working slowly on what it is they want, what it is they need, and what it is they will do for themselves. I’m going to fight for them; I’m going to let them know they’ve got someone to back them up and keep them on their toes. But I want them to fight for themselves, too.”
Newsome, who has an associate degree in business administration, completed a 12-part case manager training and certification program through The Salvation Army’s Central Territory. She hopes someday to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work as well.
In the meantime, however, she’s ready to welcome her first clients into the Pathway of Hope program.
“As their case manager, I am here to support them in this program – to encourage them and help them succeed,” Newsome said. “I want to encourage folks to get off the streets, to do better and to use the gifts they have.”