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Making a difference: Gwen Williams otherwise known as— Ms. Chocolate

Gwen Williams is a story teller, but she doesn’t have to say that for you to know it. She has a certain way of saying things that get your attention and makes you want to hear more.

Take, for instance— her rose. It is green, moldy and you can tell that at one time it was in better condition. It looks like it has been through a lot and appears to be beyond repair.

“See this rose?” She asks, “Isn’t it ugly?”

You may try to be kind and say “No, it looks like it has been through a lot.” Or you can say, “I can tell that it was once lovely.”

She will have none of it. “No it isn’t,” she says, “It’s ugly and moldy because it went through Katrina.”

“But do you see how the petals are made of money? It is still valuable. I can take those petals made of dollars into a bank and get new ones if I want to. This flower is ugly but it is still a thing of value.”

“That is what I tell the kids that I talk to,” she says.

“People do not have to be beautiful to be valuable. So many kids and adults for that matter go through their life thinking they are their circumstances or what others tell them they are. For instance, if you live in a trailer, some people may call you trailer- trash; if you have a hard time learning some people may call you stupid; you may not feel beautiful— but that doesn’t matter.”

“God created you as a thing of value and with a purpose. No one can change that. No matter what your life looks like. It doesn’t matter where you live and what your circumstances are.”

About the rose, she says, “My mom gave me this rose for my birthday. I came home after Katrina to my house that I had spent 30 years of my life furnishing and storing my memories in. That day that I came home, I saw that my house was gone and every earthly thing that I had in it was gone with it.”

She says, “I found the rose laying inside my front door, blackened and disgusting from the flood waters. My brother warned me not to touch it. But I took it because I saw the value and the lesson in it. It will always remind me that you can be ugly and still have value. Your life can be ugly and still have a purpose. All is never lost. There is always hope.”

“My hope comes from knowing who Jesus is and I know that not everyone knows him. The job for those of us that do know him is to let our light shine. We must light the way for those lost in the darkness.”

Her “From the Heart Ministries” has led her to do motivational speaking, leading worship and teaching. As “Ms. Chocolate,” Williams currently ministers to her Sunday School class at First Baptist and to children all over through her stories and songs.

Her most recent publications have been in Guidepost’s “Extraordinary Answers to Prayer” and a new series of children’s books called “Effie and His Encouraging F- Words.”

Williams feels that it does take a village to raise a child and she is a part of the community’s village. She has been working with families at the Nicholson Arms Apartments getting book bags for the children and helping out with school supplies.

She says, “I want them to know that people care.”

Williams says, “I grew up on a small chicken farm in Alexandria, La. It is because of my teachers at school and church who would not let me fail that I am here today. I want to pass that on. I believe that we don’t have a child problem, we have an adult problem. We have to hang in there with the kids and foster their self- worth.”

“All is never lost. There is always hope.”