This post is part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who are making a difference in their communities.
Aelicia "Chocolate" Ann Watson, Founder and CEO, Redeemed Women
What inspired you to start giving?
I grew up in poverty, the child of an addict and an alcoholic. I went without basic necessities in life: food, adequate clothing, and shelter. I have had cancer three times and suffered abuse at the hands of my family members and others. When you grow up that way, any small act of kindness means the world! It makes a huge difference.
What does giving mean to you? Why do you continue to give your time, talents, money, or more to your community?
When I give, the blessing goes both ways. It gives me so much joy to know I have been able to meet a need, make a woman’s day a little brighter by spending time with them and listening. I love to teach women the beauty of giving and see their lives brighten when they learn to give….the spirit of giving changes lives and strengthens communities. I believe my community is going to change from the inside out and it starts by giving and sharing with each other and supporting each other.
What would you tell others who are looking to start giving back? Share a piece of advice will help them get started.
Pray about it. Start small. Little things to you may mean the world to the receiver. You may not see the results of what you have done; but, any positive gift changes lives…and the ripple effects can be amazing!
Please share a favorite moment or story from when you volunteered or donated to an organization.
To get a better understanding of what it looks like to live in a food desert and live without adequate transportation, I launched the Redeemed Women Dart Bus Ride Challenge, I got a firsthand look at the many struggles these ladies face in my community buy needing to grocery shop, doctors appointments, social security office and more. When I got off the Bus I just stood and cried. One of the ladies from the community meet me at the bus stop, we cried together and said a short prayer, then she said to me “I’m glad you not only talk the talk, you walk the walk”. Now that’s a favorite moment.