My name is Vernell Wilks, and I am the proud recipient of ACTS services. During the early 90’s, I became a single mom due to divorce (not my decision). After the divorce, I decided to pursue my goal of returning to school. My objective was to become a teacher so that I could be at home with my two daughters during the summers, and by 4pm so that I could help them with homework. After just a few months as a single mom, I took my nine year old niece in and raised her along with my two girls with no additional income.
As I had expected, being a single mom was not at all easy. Although the drama in my life was no more, I found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Someone told me about ACTS and I decided to give it a try by taking a cut-off notice to the organization to see if they would pay my bill before my lights were terminated.
I stood in a line early in the morning. In fact, it was so early that when I arrived, daybreak had not happened yet. By the time daybreak made its appearance, the line had grown into a long slithering snake-like thing compiled of very agitated people.
Once inside, I handed the representative my cut off notice with a sense of embarrassment. She was warm and friendly as she asked me a few questions about my situation. After explaining to her that I was in school working on a Master’s degree and was raising three daughters, she asked me if I needed groceries. My shame turned into something warm and endearing as this stranger went far beyond my cry for help. I was stunned at first, because I only came to see if she would pay the bill. As I looked around the room at the boxes filled with groceries, I thought about my bare cupboards and vacant fridge. I looked at her and reluctantly said that I could actually use some groceries.
The nice stranger got up from her seat and filled a box with all kinds of goodies to include bread, milk, eggs, cookies, peanut butter and jelly, and so much more. All of this after she paid my entire bill.
Since that time, my three daughters are all grown up with children of their own. I have graduated with my Master’s in Education, started a business called College Prep Consulting and I have had the honor of servicing many families as ACTS once serviced me. My degree afforded me the opportunity to work for an organization called YOUTH FOR TOMORROW for the past eleven years. My duties are to help at risk youth to realize their dreams. I am a firm believer in the concept of giving back. Acts made it possible for me to make it during the difficult times, and so I believe that I should do the same.
Thank you, ACTS for your dedication and commitment to the community, and thank you for bridging the gap for me just when I needed it most.