Sister Claire LeBoeuf, MA, CSC, Founder

Sister Claire has been working in the field of Child Abuse and Neglect for over 40 years. New Life Village. is the third program that Sister Claire has founded since 1982.  She refers to this as her “swan song.”  She also shares that New Life Village most closely represents the full circle of her life.  Sister Claire was born and raised  on a small farm in Hudson, NH, in a safe, stable and, what promised to be, permanent family.  Unfortunately, when she was 13 years of age, her mother (the most significant person in her life) died suddenly.  Her father, thinking that it would be in her best interest, asked Claire’s godmother if Claire could live with her family, at least for a while.  A year later, he re-married and Claire went back to live with him and his new wife.  While deeply loved and cared for in her godmother’s family, Claire always had a sense that this was not her family and that she did not belong.  After her father’s remarriage (and the move to a new house), the home was again certainly not hers and the sense of not belonging was even stronger.  She subsequently entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Holy Cross in 1960–where she has felt a deep sense of belonging for 54 years.

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While Sister Claire experienced only four years of “not belonging in a family,” it is a desire of hers that NO child live even one day with that feeling. Unfortunately, for children languishing in foster care, that feeling endures day after day after day–especially when frequent moves are experienced.  Even in the best of foster homes, children in temporary custody know that they do not belong.  In a permanent (adoptive) home, the possibility exists that the child will experience a feeling of truly belonging–a feeling he/she might have had at one time in the past or perhaps has never had.

Moving to Tampa from New Hampshire in 1977, Sr. Claire enrolled for training in Transactional Analysis (the I’m OK, You’re OK era). Becoming convinced of the importance of early childhood experiences, coupled with the fact that, throughout the 70’s, states were developing laws governing child abuse and neglect, Sister Claire arrived at the decision to focus her life’s work on abused and neglected children.  This was not a far jump from her work as a school teacher–one who could always pick out the three or four children in her classroom who were hungry, dirty and afraid–at a time when she really didn’t know what to do about that, or that anything could be done.

From 1979-1984, Sister Claire worked for the Community Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, first as Parent Educator at the Rainbow Learning Center and then as the Coordinator of Training and Education in the community.  It was as Parent Educator that she recognized that mothers who had lost custody of their children couldn’t possibly make the necessary gains by participating in a two-day-a-week program.  She recognized the need for much more intensive training in three areas:  Parenting, Self-Esteem and Education.  From that realization came the founding of New Life Dwelling Place–Sister Claire’s first experience as a founder.  At New Life Dwelling Place, mothers and their children (still in state custody) could reside together under one roof–coming to know and bond with one another.  Not only would New Life Dwelling Place give mothers an opportunity to get back on their feet and to learn many new skills, it would facilitate their reunification–or sometimes to face the fact that they simply did not have the desire or the skills to be a good parent for their children.  Meeting with adoptive parents would facilitate the release of these children–knowing that they had made the right decision–without feeling any guilt.  

In 1993, New Life Dwelling Place, Inc. merged with the Child Abuse Council (formerly the Community Council on Child Abuse and Neglect).  That program no longer exists. In 1993, Sister Claire founded and ran Everyday Blessings.  Everyday Blessings had a residential  group care Child Caring component for the care of children languishing in foster care as well as a Child Placing component that trained, licensed, approved and supported foster and adoptive families.  The residential component of Everyday Blessings remains in existence in Lithia, Florida. 

By 2007, Sister Claire had become very disenchanted with the courts and their inability and unwillingness to make expedient decisions on behalf of children and with the foster care system, a system that is overworked and whose hands are tied by policies that are detrimental to children.  She saw the tremendous need that existed (and still exists) to provide an alternative for children who languish in foster care and who reach an age when they are least likely to be adopted.  Thus, the concept of New Life Village came to be–an intergenerational community modeled after Generations of Hope which Sister Claire visited in the mid 1990’s. Incorporated in 2007, New Life Village stands ready to provide safe, stable and permanent homes within a community of support.  New Life Village is a place to move children out of a state of “not belonging” to a state of “belonging to a loving, caring family of support.” Sister Claire’s service and work have been recognized throughout the country.  Sister Claire lives in Thonotosassa and is the proud mother of her beloved poodle, Cocoa.  Email Claire

Mariah Hayden, MA, MBA, Executive Director

Mariah joined the New Life Village team in 2016 after being introduced to the charity as a potential volunteer. Familiar with the effects of childhood trauma from her graduate work and personal experiences, as well as with the impact that mental health challenges have on a family, Mariah found “home” in the dynamic mission of New Life Village. She is entirely dedicated to the safety and stability of children affected by both of those realities. In government, private and academic sectors, Mariah has worked in marketing/communications, project management, community relations, branding, training and instruction, diversity programs management, event management and educational programming since 2000. Mariah has volunteered for the University of Tampa Alumni Association, the University of Tampa Board of Counselors as well as the Los Angeles and Tampa Chapters of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources. She received her Bachelors in Communications and minor in Marketing from the University of Tampa. She went on to earn her Masters in Communications from San Diego State University and her MBA at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Mariah has completed a Certificate of Change Management and a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from the University of Tampa. She is also an adjunct instructor at Hillsborough Community College. Mariah lives in Brandon with her husband Christian and their four children, Christiane, Anya, Nick and Marley. Mariah loves great food, traveling, live music and the outdoors. Email Mariah

Natalie Gomez, Program Director

Natalie oversees strategy and implementation of New Life Village’s onsite Trauma Informed Wellness, Resilience & Character Development Program. Upon welcoming residents to the Village, Natalie works to ensure all residents are connected to requested resources and supports needed to experience safety, stability, healing and growth. In partnership with NLV residents, the community, and our amazing team, Natalie strives to foster a culture which encourages community, volunteerism, and organic, healthy relationships. Prior to joining the NLV team, Natalie worked domestically and internationally in education, cultural exchange and program management. Natalie has a background in Business and is currently obtaining a Masters in Nonprofit Management at the University of Central Florida. Natalie enjoys trying new things, staying active, and spending quality time with her loved ones. Email Natalie

Spiros Kapsaskis, Grant & Compliance Director

Spiros is the Grant & Compliance Director at New Life Village. His responsibilities include co-leading the Development Team, managing the grant application and compliance processes (including tenant income certification), and overseeing program metrics. Spiros has a Masters of Arts from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College and moved to Tampa from Raleigh, North Carolina in 2020. He enjoys trail running, pinhole photography, and discovering the natural world. Email Spiros

Kyle Ryan-Kristopher Smith, AmeriCorps VISTA: Development Support Manager

Kyle Ryan-Kristopher Smith graduated from the University of Maryland Global Campus in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a minor in Gender Studies. Post-graduation Kyle plans to make a career working for LGBT+ rights and equality within the various facets of multimedia. His drive and passion for helping others made New Life Village a natural starting point for his career in the humanitarian and communications field. Having grown up a former military child, Kyle spent his childhood throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. During these years he created a strong bond with the films, television shows and music his parents grew up with. It was this friendship and love of pop culture that would funnel into his aspirations of furthering LGBT+ inclusivity within the various channel of multimedia. In his personal life, Kyle enjoys producing music, going to concerts, playing video games, cooking and spending time with his fiancé and their two cats, Chandler and Cheddar. Email Kyle

April Lytle, Property Manager

April joins New Life Village in the role of Property Manager with over 20 years of Property Management experience. She’s had the pleasure of working in many different facets of Property Management, such as Senior Living, Student Housing, Tax Credit, Project Based Section 8 and Commercial Real Estate. April enjoys working with residents to establish themselves in their new homes. She also strives to ensure residents have everything they need to experience a stress free relocation. She’d identify her time serving Seniors as a favorite because they always made her feel like family in their household. April has two adult children who also work in the Property Management field. She prides herself on being available to them when it comes to training and answer questions concerning the forever changing industry. April and her husband have two dogs, Zoey and Coco, who are considered like children. As they have become “Empty Nesters” the dogs keep them very busy. April says “I always wanted to make a difference in the role of Property Manager and be with a team that appreciates my expertise and knowledge of the business. I have finally found it here at New Life Village.”

Coach Green, Pepin Transition Program Job Coach

Working for local ESE charter school Pepin Academies – Transitional Program, Coach Green supports and supervises a group of young adults from the Transitional Program as they complete various maintenance and landscaping projects at New Life Village. Onsite twice a week, the intentional efforts of Coach Green and the students he mentors, are aiding in the cultivation of a beautiful community for NLV families to experience safety, stability and permanency.

Coach Green has been working at Pepin since 2020 and in partnership with New Life Village since September of 2021. Coach Green has a BA in Sports Management with a Minor in coaching. He also has a MS in Kinesiology. Alongside his education, he has a multitude of experience working with youth as well as young adults, by way of teaching, sports coaching, and youth camps. In his free time, Coach Green enjoys hanging out with his family, playing/watching sports, and staying home watching movies with his wife and puppies.

Liz Haslob, Americorps VISTA: Resident Events & Volunteer Manager

Liz graduated from Mississippi State Univerisity in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Liz moved to Bermuda Dunes, California in January of 2021 when an opportunity was presented to work with children with disabilities. Through this and her own life experience, Liz’s passion for having an impact on the lives of children grew. She moved to Tampa to pursue her role as an Americorps VISTA with New Life Village. Liz has always felt drawn to make an impact in the life of children who have experienced trauma and has witnessed the difference that just one adult can make in a child’s life. Liz would one day like to have a non-profit of her own, and plans to return to school to get a Master of Social Work. Liz lives in Tampa with her partner and two pets, Luna and Shay. In her free time, Liz enjoys reading books, going to concerts, being outdoors, meditating, and baking.

Zarifeh Shalabi, University of South Florida School of Social Work MSW Intern

Zarifeh is a Master of Social Work Student at the University of South Florida. Currently, Zarifeh is interning at New Life Village where she takes part in the Resident Support Team offering community resources to ensure residential families feel stable and safe. Prior to NLV, Zarifeh earned her Bachelor’s of Social Work from California State University of San Bernardino. She is a strong mental health and wellness advocate, and has served previously by supporting children in schools, children with disabilities, and students among the prison-to-college pipeline. As a means of self-care, Zarifeh loves to jog/walk outdoors during sunset, and enjoys trying different foods and supporting small local businesses.

Isabel Capp, University of South Florida School of Social Work MSW Intern

From St. Augustine, Florida, Isabel joins New Life Village as a Social Work Intern. She is simultaneously pursuing her Masters of Social Work from the University of South Florida. As a part of the NLV Resident Support Team, Isabel assists in goal setting, resource connecting, and overall support. Prior to joining NLV, Isabel completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama (UA) with a major in Human Development & Family Studies, with a concentration in child development. During her time at UA, she worked at the local hospital on the pediatric unit. It was there she provided child-friendly medical education and mental health interventions for children admitted into the pediatric unit. In high school, Isabel began coaching recreational gymnastics for school-aged children and has had a passion for working with kids ever since! In addition to serving at New Life Village and pursuing education, she is now working part time as a preschool teacher. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, going to the beach, and watching Harry Potter.

Chuck Sincell, Property Handyman

Chuck has been with New Life Village since we bought the property in 2010. He ensures resident work orders are satisfied and our property remains clean, safe and in great repair. Chuck graduated from Notre Dame in 1960 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He retired after 23 years with GTE Data Services in the Engineering and Construction Group. Chuck and his wife, Marianne have 5 children and 11 grandchildren and Chuck is a very, very very proud Fighting Irish fan.