Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Kiwan Fitch-Webster remembers the first time she was told no.
She was a part-time college student living in New Jersey when the Department of Social Services denied her aid for her 3-year-old son.
“I wouldn’t leave the office,” Fitch-Webster said. “I couldn’t move. I just sat there like they were speaking another language.”
She couldn’t receive aid without being a full-time student, but says they offered her an alternative – a community-work program where she could do unpaid work to make-up the remaining hours.
“That was my very first social service job,” Fitch-Webster said. “I found my purpose because someone told me no.”
Now she works to bring hope to others by turning their no’s into yes’.
Fitch-Webster is the CEO of EmPOWERment Corp., where she works to help women and families who are struggling in some aspect of life.
Her organization hosted its fourth-annual Finding HOPE in the Struggle conference on Thursday where participants gathered to learn new ways to grow professionally and personally. The topics included leadership, entrepreneurship, and mental, spiritual, and physical health.
Shanequa Toomer, who was assisting with the conference, says EmPOWERment programs helped her overcome some of her darkest moments.
“I just balled-up in this shell like, I can’t do it, I just want to give up,” Toomer said. “You’d be surprised at how many other people are going through that also. It gives you hope; it gives you that outlet, like I’m not alone. There is hope to get better.”
This year’s conference pushed participants to ‘Step up their game’ with discussions ranging from passion to credit repair.
You can find more information about future conferences and the EmPOWERment Corp. at www.EmPOWERedConnections.org