AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– This isn’t your typical Giving Your Best story… it’s one of hope and redemption.
Wanda Collier is honest about the mistakes she’s made in life, and she’s giving back to the community that she feels she may have damaged. Her challenges are huge, but she’s making an impact through her foundation, “Stop Our Stigma.” It started as Stop Da Stigma, to bring awareness and education for HIV and AIDS patients and their loved ones… something she knows about first hand.
“I’ve lived with so many different stigmas, being HIV positive, having mental health challenges, coming out of prison, being black, being a woman, all of that carries stigma, so it’s stop OUR stigma now, the SOS Foundation.”
Stop OUR Stigma is a way for Wanda to help others who are newly diagnosed… because she says the stigma impacts physical and mental health.
Nominator Tonshia Fluitt says Wanda’s commitment and hard work to help educate others needs to be recognized.
“We met about two years ago and ever since she told me about her foundation and her organization, I’m very passionate when it comes to HIV because I have friends that have it, I had a family member that had it, and just being around her and seeing her passion in it and everything, what she was doing, it just made me want to be a part of it.”
Wanda’s experience with St. Stephen’s Ministry transitional house was a time of transformation… because she got housing and other kinds of support that changed her life.
“And I think a lot of our community forgets that people like myself, if we didn’t have the support like you see standing here, I wouldn’t have made it. There’s a lot of times that, you know, we’re not meant to be alone, so to have that support that pulls you along, to say, ‘it’s ok that you feel this way today- I’ve got you,’ without that I wouldn’t have made it. So, we’ve gotta have the support.”
Wanda’s personal story and her positive outlook fuel her desire to give back.
“As a matter of fact, Dec. 18th we’ll be doing a communinty give-back, it’s the second annual that we team up with Dream Team Family 7, which is my daughter, but we do it every year where we give back to the community. We feed, we give clothes, we give toys, we give personal items, so we’ll be doing that in December and giving out information on HIV and AIDS and we’re working on getting some conference done in Augusta.”
Do you know someone who deserves the Giving Your Best award? Nominate them here!