KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Sherri Williams has a true passion for helping others, especially children. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and she’s making a difference in our community.
Williams is the founder of Sols motivational magazine, which connects children with their parents in prison and provides support for those struggling with loss. She also helps give more than 400 computers to inner city families, benefiting 800 young people.
Audrey Wallace just received one for her niece in college. “I’m very excited for her, ” Wallace said. “She really needs it.”
Warren Sanders with Tellico Village Computer Users Club’s Technology Access Program helps fix donated computers to give them to people in need. Sanders said he admires Williams’ tenacity.
“She comes in, she looks around, she says ‘well, I could really use one of these.’ We’ve come to realize that’s just her passion, and if she sees something and knows somebody who could use that, she’s not bashful about asking for it,” Sanders says with a smile.
The Knoxville woman’s latest venture is a non-profit called “The Writing Center.” Located at 1400 North 6th Avenue in Knoxville, it’s a place where kids ages 6 – 14 can attend a 12 week workshop after school. The workshops last until 8:00 p.m. and cost a dollar a day.
“If you need a place to get your homework done, we offer free wifi. Come here and get it done, get fed, and this workshop allows them to be expressive. We put poetry with music, we’re going to be producing a book every three months, ” Williams said.
The Writing Center came about after the death of Zaevion Dobson last December, the 15 year old Fulton High School football player who shielded his friends from gunfire in a random shooting.Continuing coverage: Zaevion Dobson
“I want to catch those kids that are not sport-related, that feel lost right now, because they’re hurting, they’re grieving, they’re missing out. These siblings are losing their loved ones, they’re losing their brothers and sisters. They feel hopeless, which turns them to gangs and other things that make them feel wanted, and we’ve got to make our kids feel wanted,” Williams says.
Zaevion’s Dobson’s mother, Zenobia, a longtime friend of Williams, is helping with the center. “My son liked to write,” she says. “He did. He would express himself through writing.”
Williams also knows loss. Two children died of health problems. Her son served time in prison.
Felecia Outsey, founder of Divine Urban Expressions, teaching kids the power of expressing themselves through dance, says Williams is truly a hero. “Despite any of her circumstances, she still puts people first. She sees where she might have been hurt, and instead of trying to fill that void for herself, she may find someone struggling with the same thing,” Outsey says.
As a mark of our appreciation, heroes will receive a gift packet from our sponsors, Ted Russell Ford, Old Mill Lodging and Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants. The gift package will include a two nights lodging in Sevier County from Old Mill Lodging, a gift card to the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants and Sevier County area attraction tickets.