When Eshe Ward was 9 years old, a tragedy happened in her neighborhood. “I remember telling my mother that I’m going to change the whole world, and she looked back at me like it is impossible,” Eshe recalled. “I looked down and cried, but I told her, ‘I can try.'”
Eshe participated in the 2022 Resident Leadership Program organized by Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (NHS). She’s lived in Fair Haven for 25 years, and the top issues she wants to change in the community are cleanliness, lack of youth programs, and homeownership. Eshe has already acted to bring positive changes.
She devotes her time to helping the homeless and youth, especially on holidays. “I’m big on holidays because that’s what my family does. I remember we all used to have big dinners and have many families over. But I think we’ve lost that sight in the world that we live in today. We’ve lost family unity,” Eshe said, explaining her motivation for helping people. Her goal is to improve people’s lives and reinforce the power of family.
Eshe works at Ice The Beef as the Director of Children and Family Services. Last year, she helped organize a Thanksgiving Give Back event that gave out over 200 meals and 100 hygiene bags to the homeless. Supporting youth is also at the core of Eshe’s missions.
“My most memorable event is Christmas 2018. I was making about $1000 a month, but I knew that I had to bless some children with gifts,” Eshe said. In about 10 days, after getting help and donations from the Charlotte community and Target, Eshe and her team were able to give 200 gifts to students for Christmas. They also fed over 300 women and children at the Salvation Army Shelter and handed out hygiene products. “I don’t know how we pulled that off, but we did. I honestly believe that God sent me my own personal angels,” Eshe is grateful for being able to contribute.
Her favorite event is “Back to School” because she believes in education and family unity. “My first back-to-school giveaway was in a federal halfway house in Charlotte where I worked in 2017,” Eshe recalled, “I wanted to give the men the opportunity to give their children something after returning into the community. Sometimes we forget that these individuals have families struggling because of absent fathers, but I feel that with some families, I’m able to at least help in those situations.”
She has now started her own non-profit group – P.O.W.E.R. “People of Wealth Excellence Royalty,” and aims to continue helping the homeless and youth in New Haven.
This April 16th, right before Easter, Eshe will again bring meals to the homeless. “I’m having a dinner for the homeless in the whole city. It will be at the New Haven People’s Center on Howe Street. Even if people can’t get to us, we’re willing to go out to the (New Haven) Green, Fair Haven, the Hill area….”
Her non-profit P.O.W.E.R is also planning on sponsoring a book carnival organized by Ice The Beef. “Hopefully, I will be able to encourage more kids of all ages to read more,” Eshe said.
Eshe never stops equipping herself with education. She signed up for the Resident Leadership Program and other classes because she seeks guidance on leadership skills. “I know a lot of things, but when it comes to certain things like leadership, I know that in order for me to reach a broad amount of people, I need a team,” Eshe said.
Looking back at what she told her mother when she was 9, Eshe had never changed her mind. “My ultimate goal is still the same thing – to change the whole world.”