JoAnn is not your typical mom. Although she may not have any biological children, she has been a mom to many in her community. As you read her story you’ll see that taking one step and making a commitment to change has been key to the impact she has had in the lives of so many. Be encouraged as you read the defining moments in her life journey:
I remember being tired. Tired of my life as I knew it and though many would say it was a good life, still I felt stagnant. There was a part of me that believed that there must be more to life and I wanted to experience it. So I did what I knew would bring me clarity and one step closer to that life: I prayed.
In October of 2001, the church I attended hosted an Empowerment Conference and as I sat listening to one of the speakers, her words pierced my soul. I remember thinking, “God, you can’t be saying what I think you are saying.”
Her message from Genesis 12 led me in a direction I had never considered: leaving my hometown.
Relocating meant leaving behind everything that was familiar and stepping into the possibility of what could be. Though I was filled with uncertainty I knew relocating was part of a bigger plan that God had for my life. So I resigned from my job, packed what fit into my car and moved to Atlanta in February 2002. It was there that I grew as a leader and met the man who would later become my husband.
While dating, we realized God had a bigger plan for our lives but were not sure how it would unfold. In the meantime we made a vow to grow individually in order to be as prepared as possible for what was to come.
In 2008 we married, but there was still a yearning inside of me to go deeper, to search for something more. As I continued my search I was introduced to Life Coaching and I loved the concept so much that I decided to become a Life Coach! I wasn’t sure how to start so I attended a Life Coach training facilitated by Sheeba that helped me break through!
I realized after years of service as a Social Worker & Mental Health/Substance Abuse Counselor I was tired of watching clients repeat the same behavior patterns. This propelled me to create an environment for service where God would be first.
Willie Dean Ministries, better known as WDM Community Center was founded in 2009 with the goal of providing resources combined with the word of God to bring children and families to a place of healing and restoration. Through our community center we support children and families, tackle literacy, food insecurity and personal development. We envision a community where every person is equipped with the resources and tools to learn, grow and succeed, and we follow our faith to set an example and serve.
We were led to the South Fulton (County) / Airport Corridor of Atlanta to establish our presence. There the community is predominantly Hispanic and African-American. Our families survive despite higher than normal occurrences of unemployment, disproportionate rates of homicide and violence, frightening levels of food insecurity and poverty, and high literacy and dropout rates. Unfortunately, nearly 40% of the households are single-parent (mother).
We have not wavered in our commitment to family or our community, fully accepting that shouldering burdens, taking advantage of opportunities and giving back to the community are all a part of our blessings.
Can you relate to JoAnn at the beginning of her journey, feeling like you are at a place in your life where you know you want something more, but not sure what it might be? Or is it that you have an idea and you aren’t sure where to begin? As a Life and Career Coach, I empower moms to break free from the rut so they can live the life they love.
Taking steps to move forward or making changes in your life can’t happen without getting real about where you are now. If you have not done so already, I invite you to take my Thrive 365 Quiz so you can have a clearer picture of where you are right now. All you have to do is enter your name and email above and you will be on your way to becoming more clear about where you are so you can begin to take that first step to move forward!
To your moment,