My Story

The Central Ward Women's Center has been in existence since June 27, 2019, with one vision in mind, to prevent homelessness iand hunger n our black and brown communities. It is also our mission to educate and employ keep families together as a unit and bring them to a state of self-sufficiency. Since the health crisis of 2020 hit our city, so many families have fallen on hard times for various reasons only to come face-to-face with another social calamity, homelessness! Our neighbors without addresses are susceptible to freezing cold temperatures and the harsh heat, not to mention hunger, the burden of disease, violence, sexual abuse and other health disparities experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.


During homeless episodes, families have had to separate and live with other family members or friends and are sometimes compelled to carry the costs of the household as part of the agreement to stay! This is a very disheartening situation but what can you do? I became a product of the environment I lived in so I know from experience what it is to be homeless, to sleep outside, stripped of dignity and respect, hungry, unclean, having no access to health care, no support and left to feel unloved, unwanted and rejected. I had a feeling of hopelessness until I was introduced to The Learning Link in East Orange New Jersey.  I met some people there who were genuinely interested in what I had to say, how I felt, and my future. Before long, I began to believe in myself because of the kindnees shown to me, the love given to me, and the hope they instilled in me. They saw a potential in me that I never knew I had, and they didn’t stop tugging on it until I saw it too! This is the reason why I bought this Social Service Agency into existence. I want to be that beacon of light and share that hope with you as someone did for me.  


Now is your chance to come in out of the cold! The Central Ward Women's Center is here to support you and your endeavors to keep your family near and safe while seeking employment to get back on your feet! That’s right, we’re here to help you regain your independence and we will support you every step of the way! We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization and we offer on-site Case Management, childcare services, computer literacy courses, live employment opportunities with on the spot hiring and job placement as well as access to continued education. We are a resource initiative, and we have everything you need to become self-Sufficient and live a better quality of life, together under one roof. 


Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family                                                                                    ~Paul Pearsall~

About the Executive Director


Ms. Viola Thomas. Executive Director of The Central Ward Women’s Shelter.

Viola Thomas, a Newark native for more than 50 years, comes with 30+ years of social service experience. I made the decision to take the reins to create and manage a center for single women and women with children. Much like some of my clientele, I too was homeless and living on the streets for several years. I know what it’s like and I know how you feel. The Central Ward Women’s Center supports single women and families in various ways. You don’t have to be homeless to utilize our services you just have to want more out of life than what you’re getting. I work diligently to get the results you seek, and I won’t stop until I do! This center is here to support you in every aspect of your life. 

Major strengths and skills: Service-oriented professional with the ability to organize complex information, creative problem-solving skills, ability to build relationships and influence outcomes. Strong Proficiency in Microsoft 365, advance internet research and job development/placement skills; Crisis Intervention, and Conflict Management, Extensive knowledge of available Newark housing resources, in-depth understanding of issues the homeless population encounter when attempting to access housing, interpersonal and oral communication skills, knowledge of transitional and permanent housing programs. Ms. Thomas is also a Notary Republic, a Mentor, a group facilitator, and an Instructor. 

Meet the Team

Our Funders

Central Ward Women's Center

     Our Mission: 
To become a major part in the lives of the black and brown residents in our communities by incorporating a higher standard of excellence in our public relations and a strategic approach to incorporate preservation of self-sufficiency.

Our Goal:
To prevent hunger and homelessness by strengthening communities, educating individuals, and unifying families because everyone deserves a better quality of life.

   Our Vision: 
To witness a community of productive citizens rise above the level of poverty and remain self-supporting.

Central Ward Women's Center is achieving more with our initiatives than ever before. We take pride in bringing families together, and keeping them under one roof, with an intent to improve their quality of life. If you're looking for employment or would like to further your education, you've come to the right place. We will assist you with the child care application if needed and get you on your way. We are very proud of the progress we continue to make. Learn more about what we do, who we help, and how we work every day to promote positive change in your life and in our community. 

We Need Your Support Today!

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Send Us a Check

You can mail us a check at our central office:

The Central Ward Women's Shelter. 

658 3rd Street, Newark, NJ 07107

c/o Viola Thomas

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