Veronne and Chris CORE Fellowship Program members smiling

Since August 2022, New Bethany’s Associate Executive Director Veronne Demesyeux and Development and Planning Director Chris Cassidy have been members of the first cohort of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation’s CORE Fellowship Program — a three-year program designed to bring diverse Lehigh Valley nonprofit leaders together to center equity in themselves, their relationships, their organizations, and the Lehigh Valley nonprofit sector. The fellowship program directly aligns with New Bethany’s mission to provide non-judgmental services to everyone and meet the needs of all clients, partners and employees.

Through the program, each fellow develops the will, skill, bravery, wisdom and resources to serve as a change agent for long-term, equitable, sustainable change within their personal lives and their organization.

“I would seriously encourage all organizations to participate in the CORE Fellowship Program,” said Demesyeux. “Not only has it been a healing process, but also an eye-opener to realize other people feel the same way.”

During their second year in the program, fellows must put their learnings and reflections from the previous year into practice by selecting a capacity-building project that will most effectively shift their organization to be more equitable and sustainable. To develop an individualized approach tailored to New Bethany’s needs, Veronne and Chris worked with a technical consultant. New Bethany also received a $25,000 grant through the CORE Fellowship in 2022 to support the initiative.

Thanks to these funds, along with Veronne and Chris’s experience in the fellowship program, New Bethany launched a Professional Development Training Series for its team in June 2023. The training series not only builds off the CORE Fellowship’s goal to provide organizations with the tools to build a supportive and inclusive workplace culture but also strengthens New Bethany’s front-line staff’s ability to deliver transformational, unbiased care to its clients.

Through the series, New Bethany had the opportunity to partner with other community organizations to lead each program, including the Center for Humanistic Change, Resilient Lehigh Valley, Pinebrook Family Answers, the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and Just Born.

So far, the series has featured the following trainings:

  • Narcan (June)
  • Trauma-Informed Care (July)
  • De-escalation & Compassion (August)
  • Resilience (September)
  • LGBTQ+ (October)
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Part 1 & 2 (October)

New Bethany plans to continue its Professional Development Training Series in 2024 and will use insights from the CORE Fellowship Program to help determine a program schedule for the year.