April 21, 2017, Flint, Michigan – Sister Carol Weber, OP, co-founder and co-director of St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center, was one of seven to be inducted into the Genesee Regional Women’s Hall of Fame.
Also inducted that evening were Sister Judy Blake, CSJ, who co-founded and co-directs the center with Sister Carol; Dr. Mona Hanna-Attista, MD, the pediatrician who discovered the lead poisoning in Flint children during the recent water crisis; Dr. Susan J. Goering and Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea, who are active in the Flint and Genesee County communities; Angie Hendershot, lead anchor at ABC-12 News in Flint; and Mildred Doran, who was lost in the Pacific Ocean in 1927 in her attempt to be the first woman to fly across the ocean.
The inductees were presented April 20 during the Eighth Annual Awards Dinner hosted by the Zonta Club of Flint at the Flint Institute of the Arts. The Zonta Club of Flint is part of Zonta International, a women’s service organization that strives to advance the status of women. The inductees’ pictures and stories will be permanently placed in the Sloan Museum in Flint.
“It was pretty overwhelming when I thought of the caliber of women that we were up there with” Sister Carol said about the induction ceremony. “It was a really powerful moment, and everybody was so attentive.”
About 14 people supported Sister Carol and Sister Judy at the ceremony, including Sister Carol’s brother and niece, and women who are employed at the N.E.W. Life Center. “The women were so moved to be there,” Sister Carol said. “It was great to see how excited they were for us.”
In her response to the award, Sister Carol said, “I just go about my day doing what I need to do because I know that’s what I’m called to do.” She sees the Center as a “work of God,” and spoke about “the hope that women can bring to Flint when we band together.”
Sisters Carol and Judy have been working since 2000 with the people of Flint, first serving them through street ministry. They opened the N.E.W. Life Center in 2002 to offer a variety of programs, including a literacy center, employment preparation, a sewing co-op, and a food pantry.
When Flint’s water was found to be contaminated by lead, St. Luke’s N.E.W. Life Center became a bottled water distribution center and then offered a support and nutrition program for pregnant women and mothers of small children, helping them to prepare nutritious meals to offset the effects of the lead in their children’s systems.
Read a related article by ABC-12 of Flint.
November 9, 2016, Flint, Michigan – Sister Carol Weber, OP, and Sister Judy Blake, CSJ, Co-founders and Co-directors of St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center, received the Community Contributor of the Year Award for their service to the Flint community.
The award, bestowed by the Arab American Heritage Council (AAHC), was presented October 27 in Northbrook Center, Flint, during the AAHC’s 20th Annual Ensure the Legacy Awards Banquet. The banquet, bringing in some 350 people, also celebrated the 30 years of the AAHC’s service to the Flint community.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the physician who discovered the extent of the lead poisoning suffered by Flint children from the city’s contaminated water, was also honored at the banquet.
Sisters Carol and Judy have been working since 2000 with the people of Flint, first serving them through street ministry. They opened the N.E.W. Life Center in 2002 and offer a variety of programs, including a literacy center, employment preparation, a sewing co-op that provides women with a livelihood, and a food pantry.
“It was an honor to be recognized by the Arab-American community,” Sister Carol said. During her brief remarks, she focused on the theme of the evening, “Together it Can Happen.” She noted that by working together, the people of Flint can solve problems that the community faces. “Only together can we do anything,” Sister Carol said. “We can’t do anything in isolation.”
Sister Carol said she had heard in May that she and Sister Judy were to be honored this Fall, and that she was reminded only recently about the awards banquet. “I was overwhelmed with the Arab-American community wanting to honor us,” she said.
Meeting members of the AAHC helped her to realize that many people in the local Arab-American community are in the same situation as some of the local Hispanic community. Those who don’t understand English were unaware of the contaminated water in their community until others explained it to them.
Sister Carol sees the award as significant to her ministry. “It really means that there’s a whole Arab community that recognizes what we do and wants to partner with us,” she said. “They’re a group of people who certainly know what’s happening in Flint and want to make a difference.”