The Four Oaks Day Services and Training Center is a facility within the Newport News Department of Human Services (NNDHS) that strives to encourage hope in the lives of those experiencing homelessness as well as to help struggling individuals transition into employment, stable housing and lifelong independence. The center provides a variety of developmental support, adoption services, programs for individuals with disabilities, housing assistance and comprehensive case management services that allow individuals to transform their lives in ways they never thought possible.
With its mission to contribute to the quality of life by “promoting empowerment and independence through human services and community partnerships,” the department and center staff work tirelessly to support the City of Newport News through difficult situations.
Leslie Baker, marketing and community relations manager for NNDHS, strategizes and markets resources the department offers. She earned her
undergraduate degree in communications with a minor in human services from Old Dominion University and her master’s degree in public relations from Norfolk State University.
In addition to providing housing support and professional skill development classes, the department offers financial literacy classes, parent education courses, mental health and substance abuse treatment services and more. “I have seen the positive impact our services have made on families and individuals struggling daily. Just how much of a difference we are able to make within the community is truly incredible” says Baker.
The department maintains a monthly newsletter for Four Oaks, as well as a quarterly newsletter to promote new developmental programs and statewide changes within the department, helping families and individuals achieve success and independence. With on-site community partners, struggling individuals and families are able to receive immediate assistance in times of crisis. The center also supports national programs such as “Healthy Families” and “Parents as Teachers” and offers a monthly job fair that works to implement those programs into the lives of families and individuals. “We have something for everyone in the community, and we want to make sure our programs reach individuals in desperate situations who need them,” says Baker.
When asked how COVID-19 affected the department’s ability to assist those in need, Baker says, “It was initially a struggle because we are people oriented. Since we have adjusted to the virtual world, we have learned we are still able to stay connected, communicating our goals and services.” Baker says the department was even able to purchase mobile showers to provide the most basic needs to individuals experiencing homelessness. “We don’t want those in need to ever feel abandoned.” Baker adds.
With a goal to expand creative methods of outreach, Baker aims to dedicate her expertise in marketing to guiding the community in a more positive direction. “Even though we work hard at promoting our resources, we don’t always reach the audience who may need our help the most. Because of this, we are learning how to dedicate our time to better implement our resources and support, while encouraging the citizens of Newport News to use our programs,” says Baker.
A dedicated and ambitious individual, Baker enjoys playing video games, exploring new restaurants and being with her family and her seven-year-old pit bull.
TO THE POINT:
Four Oaks Day Services & Training Center
The Department of Human Services of Newport News
Address: 7401 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23607
Contact: Leslie Baker, marketing and community relations manager