Yani Williams is a Philadelphia philanthropist with a heart of gold. In 2007, she created the Your AOK Foundation, a community improvement and capacity building organization. She has birthed a number of other programs to uplift communities, including Couponing for the Hungry, Gardening for the Hungry, Your AOK Jobs Today, Taking Care of Seniors Today, Your AOK Clothes 2 Kids, Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren, Your AOK Nobody Goes To Bed Hungry Pantry, Sisters & Brothers Feeding Program, Your AOK Community Cleanup Program, Your AOK Disaster Relief Program, Young Adult Collaborative and more! Yani shares the inspiration behind her giving, and how she has grown to mother communities on a large scale.
What motherhood means to Yani: Loving God, my family and the community. Being happy and healthy so I can be the best for them.
On balancing motherhood with her career: I take my family with me so they can see how I help the community and give back also. I taught my family to network and advocate for people in need.
What led to her mentorship role: Raising my children to accomplish their goals and live happy/ healthy lives. Seeing children hungry with no hope or love in their eyes, looking for attention & discipline from someone that cares for them. I therefore heeded to this call of mentoring, feeding and loving the children in Kensington.
On whether Yani thinks the roles of womanhood are changing: Yes, young women today have a hard time evolving into their next phase in life. I encourage them on how to better themselves and situations with their children, and assist them with whatever they need, whether it is food, clothing, furniture or resources through my foundation. Leadership and patience are key.
How Yani relates her role as a mother to strengthening the Diaspora community: By helping to reduce hunger and creating a safe haven for youth to feel safe during the most vulnerable time of the day, which is after school hours. To make sure no child goes to bed hungry so they can be productive in school. I’ve been helping people since I was a small child. Being the Luvbug of the community is a joy and a very rewarding feeling. I love helping people get to their next level.
Connect with her at www.youraokfoundation.org, and on Instagram at @Yaniluvbug621 or @Youraoktakingittothestreets.