“HOBY inspired me to be that beacon of hope, to help those currently at an obstacle in life to rise above. The seminar inspired me to do more, to take action instead of sitting back.”
When she was young, Georgena Williams knew she wanted to help those she saw begging for loose change on the street. She recalls when she would join her mom on grocery shopping trips, frequently seeing such individuals. She said that “the sight made her frustrated, but the thought of what they had endured and may endure pained my heart.”
Georgena recalls her HOBY Pennsylvania East seminar, where there was a panel discussion in which a female speaker shared her journey through poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity. The speaker shared how she overcame all of these obstacles and is currently happily married with kids living in their own home. Her story really touched Georgena, showing her that she can help those who are in similar situations. Georgena’s seminar experience had a significant impact on her and inspired her to do more.
Even though others walk past them, she knew that she had to stop and lend a hand; becoming their beacon of hope. Her journey began when she started volunteering at the Life Center, a local homeless shelter in her community that is committed to helping the homeless get back on their feet. There, she has a lot of different responsibilities within the organization. “Some days, I help to serve dinner to around 150+ community members. Other days, I am in the kitchen ensuring that every bite of food is made with love or organizing lunch with my fellow HOBY Alumni,” Georgena recalled.
When she is not aiding within the shelter itself, she helps by holding different fundraisers. Last May, Georgena raised $13,000 for the shelters Life Center Meal Program.
Georgena says that “No matter what I am doing, I know that I am making a positive impact on someone’s life and that’s all I need to keep me going. Throughout my time volunteering at the shelter I have formed meaningful connections with community members while sharing life stories, hugs, and endless laughs and smiles.”
On July 22nd, 2017, Georgena planned, organized and served lunch at the Life Center of Eastern Delaware County. In order to do so, she had to coordinate with Life Center officials and got together with some HOBY Delaware alumni to help. In the weeks awaiting the event, she reached out to local pizza shops, asking for donations while sharing her mission and the impact that their donations would make on the community. As a result, seventeen cheese pizzas were donated along with drinks, plates, and other necessities for the occasion. When the day arrived, they were able to feed approximately 50 individuals, while creating memories, sharing smiles, and ultimately making a difference.
Georgena recalls that “the event brought my fellow HOBY Alumni together while making a positive impact on our community and upholding the core values of HOBY. Through my actions above and my active involvement at the Life Center, I have demonstrated leadership, leadership that was greatly fostered as a result of my participation at HOBY.”