Let’s build a better world for all


Who We Are

Cecelia V

Founder and Executive Director, StartAnew non-profit

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou

I am the Founder and Executive Director at Start Anew the non-profit, as well as part owner of Sisters Empowered. I am passionate about human rights, civil rights, advocacy, community support and the right to be you. I hold a BA in Liberal Arts with a focus on women’s empowerment and advocacy through community support from Metropolitan State University. I am currently working on my master’s degree in Divinity with a focus on Leadership at Liberty University. I facilitate the Women’s Empowerment group called, “It’s OK 2 B U.” and have done some public speaking and would like to do more. 

“One of my goals is to empower women who have legal history in their backgrounds. One of my hopes is that even though a person has made a mistake or more than one, that they will still have the same opportunities to have access to a healthy and happy lifestyle.”

I wanted to make a difference to other women, so that they will know that I am not doing something that they can’t be doing themselves. We fall, but we also can get up.

It is never too late to follow your dreams, no matter where you have been.

Our Team Members

Earlean G

Facilitator and Community Outreach Coordinator at StartAnew for It’s OK 2 B U and at Sisterhood at AAATF

I have been living with HIV for 33 years and have been facilitating these groups because I want to help in the community with self-health and self-care. I want to be able to show support and love to anyone that wants to live and learn. My purpose is to make and keep people aware of some things; if not all things that can help people to live a safe and healthier lifestyle.

Najya B

Director of Youth Programming and Facilitator

I organize group activities, lead conversations and topics and various things of that nature

My greatest accomplishment is being a mother. My children are one of the reasons that I get up in the morning.

The other reason is that I am passionate about social justice and women’s positions in the world, such as women’s rights, because my mother was a part of the justice system and so I was also impacted by the justice system. 

I believe that there are levels and underlying conditions that play a part in why a person becomes part of the justice system and that we as a community need to re-evaluate the who’s the why’s and the what’s in finding the how’s.

I am also interested in the art of makeup and fashion. 

What We Do

StartAnew is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that focuses on women and girls who are survivors of incarceration and those who have been impacted by the justice system.

Our services include:

  • It’s OK 2 B U (empowerment group)
  • Mentoring
  • Pre-incarceration &
  • Post-incarceration Consults
  • Mental Wellness
  • Financial Refinement
  • Resources


We offer a wide range of services as well as a thought-provoking curriculum which challenges women to re-evaluate their thoughts, beliefs, and their behaviors while changing their lifestyles for the better of themselves and those that are around them.

To know who you are, you must know who you were and where you have been in order to get where you are going.

This is something that does not change once, but it is an ongoing process.


— We work with

We work with women who deserve assistance in figuring out the transition back into the community.


— We Build Networks

we build networks that assist and provide the best support to each woman’s individual needs.


— We Empower

Our ultimate goal is to increase the mindset of women in need by providing intrinsic empowerment groups to help them increase their motivation into being the best person that they can be. 


— We Acknowledge

It is our birthright for all to achieve the highest level of education that they desire and deserve. 


— We Provide Support

We provide personal support to women during reentry, parole, and probation so that they can go through the process of the criminal justice system successfully. 


— We Mentor

We provide one on one mentoring sessions. Our expert team works tirelessly to conduct mentoring sessions for those who would like to receive it. 

Impact Stories

Start Anew! Wow where do I begin?

I met the founder of Start Anew, at a workshop, on a University campus. I didn’t know what to expect, due to, it being my very first time, educating myself about the prison system and the intricacies of what the “system” is all about.

After the presentation was done, it was time for the breakout sessions, where we could meet the panelists and learn from them. That’s where I met Ms. Cecilia Viel, and our sisterhood began there. Over the next few months, I’d come to learn and know, that I didn’t know very much about the prison industry. 

After coming under the “tutelage” of Ms. Cecilia, by joining her, alongside a group of women, who meet on a weekly basis, to discuss how we can better improve ourselves, our shortcomings, readjusting to this “new way” of existing, because now there’s a label attached to our names. Admittedly it was a transition, to say the least, but our weekly meetings and interactions with one another, it has truly made adapting a lot easier. Having a sisterhood, so to speak where you can come and let your hair down, laugh, as well as learn how to adapt to your new way of living in society.

Start Anew, has assisted us with our deposits for new housing. Assisted with providing information on housing, starting a new job, advancing on our current jobs, learning about health and nutrition, and having an overall sisterhood, has offered a fresh breath of air, where at times it felt stagnate and immovable. 

I thank Almighty God, for our meeting that day on the college campus. Not there as a University student, yet not knowing that Ms. Cecilia and Start Anew would be a new start for me and my future. I am humbly grateful to Almighty God, for Ms. Cecilia and the ladies at Start Anew.

Thank you 

Sandra Abu-Bakr 

Our Supporters