Lifelong Delray Beach resident Angela Williams is starting the dialogue on tough discussions in the community.
Williams has dealt with her parents’ divorce and her brother’s suicide, topics she said aren’t always openly discussed, especially in the church.
That is why she is starting an initiative “Move From Church to Church” where she will visit a different church once a quarter to host an open dialogue on “Mind, Body, Spiritual, and Financial Health Workshops.”
“I have this passion to empower people about wellness,” she said. “I love giving back to the community.”
As the daughter of a pastor, the topics of divorce, suicide and mental health she said were not always openly discussed in the church.
“Churches are pillars and the support system of our community,” she said. “I want to create a place for trusted conversations. All of us go through similar things at different times.”
Williams is a teacher and has previously worked as a social worker, so she said she is used to talking with folks about various subjects.
Her vision of bringing mental health conversations into the community and historically black churches in The Set won the support of Healthier Delray Beach, a Palm Health Foundation initiative. The nonprofit awarded Williams and her nonprofit Say What! Enterprises, a grant to launch the workshop series.
Palm Health Foundation Vice President, Grants & Community Investments Abigail Goodwin said Williams was awarded a mini-grant from the Build Our Blocks initiative.
The grant opportunity invited residents to pitch their ideas to their neighbors who then voted on the idea they wanted to see happen in their community.
Williams’ idea was well received and she received the grant, Goodwin said.
“She was selected by her peers and neighbors to have this project funded,” Goodwin said, adding there has been a growing interest in faith-based organizations to get involved in mental health awareness initiatives.
Goodwin said Williams has been involved with Healthier Delray and the Let’s Move campaign put on by the foundation for several years.
“She has been an energizing force in the Delray Beach community to get people active and moving and really engaged in physical fitness and coming together as a community to do that,” Goodwin said. “She is one of those examples of a natural community leader.”
Goodwin said the Foundation is excited for Williams to bring her energy to the churches.
Williams own childhood church, St. John Primitive Baptist Church, will be one of the churches in the program.
A kick-off event will take place at 9:30 a.m. on May 4 at Libbey Wesley Plaza. She said the event will focus on mental health awareness. There will be a licensed therapist, yoga, games and a financial adviser on site.
The church workshops will not be Williams first time holding events in the community. She teaches a Zumba class regularly in the city and is involved with Healthier Delray. She just helped Atlantic High with the Let’s Move Challenge. The school took home first place in the video challenge.
She is a breast cancer survivor and often holds a group for women that discusses various topics that impact women specifically.
She has been married to her husband Ernest for 34 years, raised her family in Delray and is a grandmother.
“This is home,” she said of Delray.