DAHLGREN, Va. –
Sometimes the smallest act of a servant’s heart can have the biggest waves. Shermanda Williams is the perfect example.
Williams is an infrastructure analyst at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD). When she’s not working, she volunteers for numerous organizations including Deaf Camps, Inc., Cub Scouts and her church’s youth group.
Throughout her work with different organizations, Williams’ ‘why’ all stems from one reason.
“Growing up, there were a lot of people that poured into me, took the time to care and be role models and positive influences for me,” Williams said. “I wanted to give back and do that for others.”
When Williams and her husband first moved to the Charles County, Maryland community, they did not have any family nearby. But their lack of connections did not hold them back from serving their community through foster care.
“We did foster care for children of all ages – from newborns to teenagers,” said Williams. “Children came into our home and stayed for a weekend or longer.”
When the couple’s eldest son had a diagnosis of hearing loss, Williams began to look around for resources.
“My son was a year old before we conclusively knew he had some loss. During that time, I was looking into different organizations and gathering resources, and I reached out to Maryland School for the Deaf.”
Information and resources shared by the school staff and some parent groups included opportunities offered by Deaf Camps, Inc., and Williams soon joined. According to the organization’s website, Deaf Camps, Inc. is a volunteer-run nonprofit dedicated to providing “physical, spiritual, and social development of Deaf/hard of hearing children and children learning American Sign Language.”
After fostering several years, Williams and her husband transferred to inactive foster parents and welcomed a second son into the family. Now, in addition to her work with Deaf Camps, Inc., Williams volunteers with her sons’ Cub Scout Pack in La Plata, Maryland, helping the pack achieve different badges and preparing for upcoming activities.
Williams’ desire to build a better world drives her volunteer efforts.
“It’s important to pour into our youth because not only are they our future, but we need to prepare them for the future,” said Williams. “We want to instill in them good work ethics, morals and values, so they can make the world a better place in the future.”
Her philosophy on giving back to the community extends into her volunteer efforts at her church, Little Ark Baptist Church.
“Growing up in my church, I had positive role models and individuals in the community that supported me,” she explained. “I want to pay it forward and do the same for others.”
According to Williams, the most important aspect of giving back to the community is being willing to give up your time. Her advice to others is to think of something you love or want to learn and find a group working with youth to volunteer: “We all have something to share. When we share, we make our communities better.”