February 17, 2022

Hello Nune,

As 2022 marches on, we continue to celebrate 125 years of helping people help themselves. In case you missed it, we celebrated our co-founder, S. Blandina Segale's, birthday last month by releasing a movie trailer for At the End of the Santa Fe Trail. The producers of this feature film are filming new footage this month and hope to release the film on our 125th anniversary, December 8, 2022. We would like to have a premiere right here in Cincinnati if COVID allows. Stay tuned for updates! If you missed it, you can view the trailer below.

This Saturday, February 19, 2022 Santa Maria is presenting a special Cancer Screening & Prevention Community Health Fair at the Price Hill Recreation Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This special health fair will help participants understand what cancer is and discover ways to prevent it. It includes free screening for prostate, lung, and head and neck cancers. We will also be offering COVID vaccines to eligible persons.

We couldn't do what we do without the support of our donors. Thank you all so very much for your generosity.



H.A. Musser, Jr.

President and CEO

Santa Maria Community Services, Inc.

Movie trailer for At the End of the Santa Fe Trail
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A True Passion for Fatherhood

Thirty-seven-year-old Donta Steele is a hard-working dad, and longtime resident of Cincinnati with big dreams for himself and his three teenage sons. He came to Santa Maria in spring 2021 with the goal of obtaining affordable housing for himself and his oldest son, Elisha Lee-16, who resides with him. He also had hopes of expanding his job opportunities and skills. Donta began working with former Santa Maria Stable Families Coordinator, Molly Swaidan, last year, and recently began working with our Stable Families Case Manager, Francesca Phillis.


Santa Maria was able to help Donta find a job that has a flexible work schedule and good pay. His new job as a Home Depot Associate has afforded him many new skills like painting and home repair. He is using those skills to his advantage. Francesca said, “He is actually asking his landlord if he can make repairs in other units to receive credit for his rent, which would help improve his monthly budget.”


With Santa Maria’s help, Donta was also able to obtain affordable housing through the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA). Utilizing funds provided by the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association (GCNKAA), Santa Maria was able to help him with his deposit and first three months’ rent. When Donta needed furniture for his new place, Francesca was able to connect him with New Life Furniture Bank where he was able to acquire furniture to make his home warm and nurturing. Santa Maria helped Donta gain stability in his life with food assistance, and enabled him to pursue new opportunities through the gift of a new laptop and educational resources.


Donta’s real passion lies in fatherhood. He is the father of three teenage boys. “I love how Donta is so involved with his children’s lives!,” said Francesca. “He makes time for their extracurricular activities while talking with them about the importance of getting an education and striving for more in life. Donta’s unconditional support and love for his children is amazing.” Donta would love to see all of his sons graduate from high school and move on to higher education.


“Donta’s enthusiasm for change is contagious,” said Francesca. “Donta is motivated and driven to enhance the quality of life for him and his children. He is very open to ideas and suggestions and gained enough confidence to advocate for himself when necessary.” He continues to meet with Francesca monthly to create action plans for the goals that he sets for himself, and he hopes to one day become a barber.


“I am very appreciative of Molly and Francesca.” Donta reflected. “You can’t go wrong with these ladies!” He said Francesca is always making sure she is helping to her full ability, and he very much appreciates the support he’s received from Santa Maria. “They will always have your back and are willing to help you as long as you are sure of what you want.”


Regine Gordon Reflects on her Over 30 Years with Santa Maria

I began working at Santa Maria in 1991 when I was an undergraduate student at Mount St. Joseph University. I fell in love with the grass roots, neighborhood approach to social work that I saw at the Agency. It was so personal, so relational, and so neighborhood-focused. I wasn’t aware of this type of social work existing. I started out as a youth worker and community organizer. During those early years, I was only a few years older than some of the youth I was working with. It was an honor to form relationships and watch them grow as I was growing myself.

“Relationship” is the word that I would use to most fundamentally characterize what we do at Santa Maria. As workers, we build relationships to help those we work with achieve their own relationships and goals. Having been there as long as I have, I have had the privilege of watching several young people grow up. I have seen them have their own children (and some now have grandchildren.) I have seen how, as an agency, we have had an influence along the way.

In the early years, the Sedamsville office was just referred to as “The Center” where lots of gatherings took place. I was part of leading groups such as the teen group, parent groups, the Center Board and other informal gatherings where relationships were formed and strengthened. Individuals were able to receive help along the way with whatever struggles they may have had, while building relationships. Personally, I am so thankful for the lifelong relationships I have built while working at Santa Maria. I know so many others are as well.

In my last 14 years at Santa Maria, I have been working with a program called Promoting our Preschoolers. I have the opportunity to go into homes and meet with moms and preschool age children building relationships with them to help at this stage of life. There is so much that happens as they prepare for school, not only academically, but socially. I enjoy helping work through challenges and celebrate successes with the families I see.

The Santa Maria that I know has always been there for the people! It is truly a down to earth, caring organization. People who work there care for one another and often form strong friendships even outside of the workplace. The staff and volunteers do the best they can to uplift those the organization serves. It is a really great place to work! That is why I continue to work there after all these years!

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Thank You to Our 2022 Sponsors!

Impact Sponsors:

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