Singer and actress Michelle Williams, formerly off Destiny’s Child, along with Kimberly Williams-Paisley recently traveled to Guatemala with non-profit CARE, a leading international organization working to save lives, end poverty and achieve social justice around the world by empowering women and girls. During the trip, Michelle witnessed CARE’s work and engaged with some of the women and girls who CARE supports, including schoolchildren who receive tools that help improve nutrition and hygiene. Michelle was taken on a tour of the school grounds interacting with students and engaging in various activities including distributing food to students; preparing tasty tortillas; singing to good health with games that teach young people about making healthy food choices. She also met famers who shared fascinating insights into challenges they face and how partnering with CARE has helped them sell more and access export markets beyond Guatemala’s borders, which keeps their families economically secure. She also visited a production plant where various raw food products are prepared for export to the U.S. The plant is the first co-op in Guatemala owned and operated by women producers. Here, Michelle discusses her trip, her work with CARE and why, most of all, she chooses to give back.
Why did you choose to get involved with CARE?
Sometimes in life you realize that there is more for you to do. You realize that the life you’ve been given isn’t for your own selfish pleasures but it’s for you to be a blessing to someone else.
What was the best moment of your trip and why?
There were so many awesome moments. I loved connecting with the staff of CARE. Their heart and passion let me know that they really do CARE! I’m just in awe of the many places that CARE touches and the impact of CARE. The organization operates in 95 countries and helps 85 million people every year.
Did you see or learn anything that surprised you? Why?
I learned that no matter who you are, where you live, or the amount of money you have, we all have basic needs that deserve to be met. We all should be treated with dignity and respect. I learned from the women that they want what any woman wants, freedom, equality, protection.
Tell us about the most inspiring woman or girl you met during the trip?
Every time I think someone was more inspiring than the other, I think about ALL of their stories. They are ALL inspiring. I can’t stop thinking about the women who run and operate the co-op. I can’t stop thinking about their stories of how being able to work makes them feel empowered. I think of people who don’t want to work because of sheer laziness and I was able to see women so EXCITED and GRATEFUL to work to be able to take care of their families.
How can other people get involved with CARE?
You can go to care.org and click on ‘how you can help’ and explore a variety of options to find the one that works best for you.
Why is giving back so important to you? How do you continuously give back throughout the year?
Giving back is so important to me. We are blessed to bless others. One small act of kindness goes a long way for someone. I give back in a number of ways, my favorite way of giving back is being physically present somewhere to help/volunteer.
Does your spirituality have an impact on your philanthropic nature?
My spirituality has a major impact on why I give.
What is your number one life hack for feeling good about yourself?
Eating cake without apologizing.
If you could only pass along one thing, one message, to the world, what would that be and why?
Take a day, take a few minutes out of your life to give. Think of someone else for a change. Giving money is great but take some time to shake a hand, hug somebody that has less than you. When a person feels like you “see” them, sometimes that’s all they need to make it another day or to fulfill a goal.
Story By Laura Schreffler for Haute Living Magazine