Meet a W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Volunteer: Zalise Edwards

1) Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I love to laugh. All that I do I try to find the joy in it. My desire is to be excellent or the TnkTAgxmSjeGsXFRQMAxCgbest that I can be every day, in every way, no matter what is taking place in my life. I live in the City, I have deep affection for it and every morning I thank God for eyesight. I am most proud of my daughter. Being a mom was the hardest job of my life. When my daughter graduated from college with honors, for the first time, I felt that I was a good mother, that I had supplied my daughter with well-rounded principles, and that she had the ambition to be successful in this world. We have “big fun” together. Writing is something that I enjoy when I have time as well as going to the movies, reading, shopping, I enjoy making gourmet salads and I spend a lot of time watching the classics on TCM with a glass of wine. I was in the fashion business for thirteen years. I worked in the corporate world for more than twenty-five years and recently retired. All of my experiences have led to a lifelong passion to share my journey to inspire and empower as many women as possible to be bold and bloom, to be their best self and never a copy.

2) How long have you been volunteering with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I started volunteering for W.O.M.A.N., Inc., in 2017, in October I believe.

3) What opportunities have you been involved with at the organization?
I attended the training classes, and as a support line volunteer, worked in the W.O.M.A.N., Inc., office two days a week for almost a year. I have contributed and attended fundraising events and support W.O.M.A.N., Inc., in every way that I can. I continue to be a support line volunteer two days a week from my home.

The greatest opportunity for me was attending the domestic violence training. I learned so much about the history of domestic violence and its ugliness. I learned a lot about myself too. The training really changed my life and my way of thinking. Violence, in general, is deeply rooted in the history of America.

The greatest opportunity for me was attending the domestic violence training. I learned so much about the history of domestic violence and its ugliness. I learned a lot about myself too. The training really changed my life and my way of thinking. Violence, in general, is deeply rooted in the history of America. Until white Americans deal with the abuse and genocide of our Native Americans, deal with the violence, unfair treatment and abuse against people of color, and all Americans need to deal with the violence, mistreatment and abuse against people who are thought to be different. Americans must deal with their sins of the past. If not, there will always be violence in the USA. Back in the day of old, women were considered insignificant. I learned that power and control is not just indicative to domestic violence but also used in the corporate environment to control women and people of color by belittling their contributions or making them feel small or insignificant. As a woman of color, and often the only person of color in the company, I experienced having to prove myself over and over again. I had to be better than my coworkers just to keep my job. I had to fight for every promotion and every salary increase. While my white counterparts with less experience and skill breezed through, some I trained. As a young woman entering the corporate world, I was a victim of sexual harassment. During those days, sexual harassment was considered to be harmless. No one had heard of Anita Hill in the 1980’s. Thank God for the #metoo movement which is in now.

4) What propelled you to volunteer and what motivates you to continue?
A friend that just happens to be a psychiatrist, mentioned W.O.M.A.N., Inc. to me. I liked their mission, “Women Organized to Make Abuse Non-existent”.

As a little girl, I saw my beautiful, gorgeous aunt battered, abused and misused. Everyone in the family knew about it or so it seemed, but, no one said anything or talked about it. At one point, she was beaten so severely that an eye was out of socket. She was never the same after this beating which took away her most valuable asset, herself. She became subservient to her abuser, was isolated in a country town, she lived a life of fear. I also learned that I have engaged in abusive behavior, I didn’t know that I was, I didn’t mean to be, I just thought I was being a good disciplinarian. The domestic violence training put all of this in perspective for me. It did not judge. It helped me to understand that survivors are very strong people. We meet survivors where they are at with great care and great respect in the support that we give, regardless of their situation.

…survivors are very strong people. We meet survivors where they are at with great care and great respect in the support that we give, regardless of their situation.

As a woman, I want to end all forms of violence against women, especially violence against women of color. This is why I continue to volunteer. For me, every support line caller may be in a dire situation. They need someone like me to care, to help them be safe, to listen to their story with empathy and to help them determine their options going forward. For me, it is important to reassure the survivor of their strength. I let them know that calling the support line took courage. I continue to volunteer because the work is not done, abuse is not yet non-existent, in fact, it is increasing as we speak. As long as I am able, I will support survivors of domestic violence in some form or fashion. I only wish that W.O.M.A.N., Inc. or an organization like W.O.M.A.N., Inc., had existed in the 1960’s to support my aunt.

For me, it is important to reassure the survivor of their strength. I let them know that calling the support line took courage. I continue to volunteer because the work is not done…


Interested in joining the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Community? Learn more about our volunteer opportunities & apply at our website: www.womaninc.org/volunteer

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence, we welcome you to call our 24/7 Support Line at (877)384-3578. Learn more about our programs at www.womaninc.org/support

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