Instead of just preaching, Alexis Anderson works to offer programs and practical solutions for people who need it the most.
Anderson is the executive of director of PREACH, an organization committed to serving the needs of the community through basic life skills, computerization and commerce. PREACH stands for Presenting Resources Effectively Applying Christ-like Humbleness.
The organization has sponsored events from financial literacy classes to domestic violence workshops. One of its latest projects targeted women of all ages at the Diva Conference.
“The Diva Conference is an asset-building conference for women,” said Anderson, who is also a minister at St. Mary African Methodist Episcopal Church in Addis. “The purpose of it is a fun and inviting way to get women to look at things like homeownership opportunities, education opportunities, entrepreneurship opportunities and health opportunities.”
The conference was an effort to teach women to put more priority on themselves.
“Women typically put themselves last,” Anderson said. “They take care of their families. They take care of the men in their lives, but they don’t take care of themselves.”
The conference featured an assortment of presenters and companies to help women get the information not only to take care of themselves but to strive to acquire the education to help take care of themselves and their families financially.
Anderson said a recent report showed that on average black women have a net worth of $5.
“Not poor African-American women but African-American women as a whole, and I don’t have to discuss Louisiana’s statistics,” she said. “The whole point is to introduce to some women, encourage other women to move forward on actual asset building.”
Women had the opportunity to hear from lawyers about durable powers of attorney for health care, finance and living wills, especially when it comes to their children.
“The purpose of that is so many single women don’t realize that even if you don’t ‘have money,’ you need to have legacy protection for your children.”
Women also were reminded that school isn’t just for the children. They are provided information on financial aid and other options.
“We’ve got to start empowering them to think about going to school, not at just 18 but at 30, 40 and 50,” Anderson said. “That’s a big part of this, to sort of change their mind-set.”
Education is more and more a factor because women are finding themselves having to work longer in their lives.
“Lots of women are in a position to where if Congress gets its way, they’re not going to stop working,” Anderson said. “The day of the retirement age is over. “
The event did offer opportunities for women to have fun, play games and “be pampered.” It also gave women a chance to find some encouragement through the lives and words of others, Anderson said.
“This is not an event to tell you you’re too dumb to do something,” Anderson said. “It’s an event to say that I love you. … Women who come through this thing will have somebody who will hold their hand — whether they’re looking to change a career, looking to start a business, looking to get through a hard crisis.”
Anderson said PREACH’s next event will be the Capital Area High School Education Options Fair on Sept. 30. The fair is for high school sophomores and juniors to examine post-high school options.
Terry Robinson is a copy editor for The Advocate. He can be reached at (225) 388-0238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.