March Is Women’s History Month

Malika Williams, Founder, Executive Director, L.I.V.E Outreach

In addition to celebrating women who have paved the way for us throughout history, including Jane Addams who founded Chicago’s Hull House, the nation’s first settlement house and is considered the first social worker and the second woman to receive the Peace Prize, we want to celebrate women in our community who are making a difference every day. For 2024 Women’s History Month / Social Work Month we are honored to profile Malika Williams, Founder, Executive Director, L.I.V.E Outreach.

Malika Williams knows exactly what it is like to be in foster care. And she knows that she is uniquely able to help. Coming from a large family and becoming a mom at an early age, she knows how hard it can be to find help and guidance.

She says she asked a younger version of herself what she needed. She answered, “Be an example of what you want to see in life and the world.” And so her non-profit, L.I.V.E Outreach, was born.

Be an example of what you want to see.The mission of her organization is to “refresh, renew and revive by providing assistance with housing, financial support, career development, and life-skills training to youth within the foster care community and youth in underserved communities. L.I.V.E. Outreach provides a number of services. In addition to the above, she helps young people learn about nutrition and healthy eating and how to be aware of one’s mental health and when and how to seek help. “Looking back there were many individuals who helped me and inspired me to keep going, even though they didn’t know me personally.”Today her work is a way to show gratitude for those who helped her along the way. Even though she may not know their names. Learn more about L.I.V.E. Outreach here.  Go forward and develop what you can do to help.After spending time working in hospitality and customer service, Malika knew she wanted to make a difference in the lives of youngsters. And like many, she did not have a background in running an organization, or training for the myriad of things a leader must do. But she had a passion and a drive to learn.Malika recently completed a cohort with YRDC (Youth Resource Development Center). The key – and challenge of being a leader, according to her – is to have an effective board and dependable volunteers. L.I.V.E. produces community events, like an upcoming event to celebrate their 10th anniversary this summer called “Kites, Bikes & Burgers,” in which organizers gave away free bicycles to children. Work to be the encouraging example who inspires others and they, in turn, will inspire others.One of the biggest challenges producing events is the bureaucracy of dealing with city government, and large school systems, Malika said.“But every day I draw on my passion to be a mentor for others,” Malika said. “Then I add consistency and try to set realistic goals and expectations. I also lean on a circle of friends who motivate me, listen to me, and pray for me.” Malika is an avid volunteer and has worked with Vista Maria, Alternatives for Girls, and Covenant House. We are so very fortunate she found Spaulding. Malika has volunteered and has also recruited volunteers for several Spaulding programs and events.