After spending a few years traveling overseas after college, Ashley Williams eventually returned home to Mississippi with her daughter, Mimi, and quickly decided she wanted to find a way to be more involved in her community. Ashley found this outlet through joining the GFWC Ackerman Twentieth Century Club.
“I just wanted a way to do more, so I reached out to the club president then who worked at the elementary school,” Ashley explained. “I went to a meeting and was paying my dues that night and I haven’t quit since. It’s one of those things that I just hit the ground running.”
She said she has always been someone who likes to take on new responsibilities and stay active, so joining the woman’s club was the perfect way to channel this energy.
“I’m a doer. I like to be involved and full pace is the only thing I know,” she said, adding she completed 1,500 hours of volunteer work in 2019 alone.
Ashley said volunteering is important to her because she has seen firsthand how giving and generous people can be. She explained when she was younger her sister became the 13th person in the U.S. to receive a living donor liver transplant, with her mother donating part of her liver, and her community raised thousands of dollars to make the procedure possible.
“I’ve been on the opposite end of receiving as far as seeing a community that gives to people,” she said. “…I’ve seen what living in a small town can do and how we come together in times of need. People are just there for you. I wanted to be a part of that and help change somebody else’s life by giving back to the people who I’ve seen give, not only to my family, but so many others.”
While Ashley has been involved in many projects with the GFWC Ackerman Twentieth Century Club, she said she was particularly proud of working on a spearheading a Souls for Soles project.
“It was near and dear to me because on one of my trips to Honduras I got to be part of a shoe giveaway with Souls for Soles, so when I found out I could count that as an environment project, I just kind of adopted it,” she said. “Still today when I walk out on my back porch there will be bags of shoes that people have dropped off.”
Along with enjoying her own volunteer work, Ashley said she was excited when her daughter joined a Juniorettes club and starting giving back as well.
“She is everything I want to be. She is the most exceptional child, and I think every parent says that about their child, but I tell her all the time, ‘When I grow up, I want to be just like you.’ She truly has a servant’s heart,” Ashley said.
She said she is excited to continue working with her fellow clubwomen and to see what the future holds.
For more than two decades, Cindy Rasmussen has been an active member of the GFWC Salem Woman's Service Club.
Success For Survivors Scholarship
Each year, GFWC awards scholarships to help intimate partner abuse survivors obtain a post-secondary education that offers a chance to reshape their future by securing employment and gaining personal independence.
GFWC Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club
Founded in 1934, the GFWC Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club is perhaps best known for its Work Out to Wipe Out Domestic Violence Benefit Day, which raised over $10,000 last year.