Stateline Strong: Shamika Williams Founds KFACT to Keep Girls out of "Survival Mode"

The executive director now has a new space for the Lady All-Stars in Rockford.

ROCKFORD - "This complete area is our actual lounge," explained Shamika Williams as she showed our cameras around the new KFACT space.

"So that's the area where than can just kick back and relax," said Williams as she pointed to a cozy corner in the new space. But her mission goes beyond beanbags, pillows, and decorations. The space, nestled in Downtown Rockford represents Shamika's fifth and final goal by age 35. It's the permanent home of  KFACT, and it's all about one thing: Family.

"[It's] my second family, my second home," said Jamia Carter, 18.

Family is even in the name, KFACT: Keeping Families and Communities Together. Last month marked the grand opening of KFACT's new downtown space. A round of applause was heard for the woman who's acted like a mother to hundreds of Rockford girls.

"Miss Shamika is right up there for me just like my second family, literally trying to get it all together," said Carter.

The girls call themselves the Lady All-Stars, and KFACT gives them the basic tools to better themselves so they can thrive, not just survive.

"Survival mode is a place that nobody wants to live in," said Williams.

Williams knows what it's like to live day-to-day and not have the luxuries you see inside KFACT's  new home. Born into poverty, and a mom at just 14, she felt compelled to give Rockford girls the leg up she didn't have.

"I took my professional experience, my personal life experience and kind of combined them and said 'what would have worked for me to not be a teen mom? What would have worked for me to not live the type of life that I lived struggling and growing up poor, what would it have taken?'," said Williams.

The answer: An organization that pushes the girls to further their education, while being there for them 24-7.

"Sometimes our mentoring is just simply going to watch them cheerlead or going to their volleyball games, or just being there. A lot of our girls look up in the stand and there's nobody there from their family."

Williams is filling the void like she hopes they will do on the blank wall leading to the basement of KFACT's downtown space. The goal is to transform it from white paint into a centerpiece of empowerment while never forgetting that it's each individual's journey that keeps families and communities together.

"I think we can all learn something from each other," said Williams.

If you'd like to learn more about KFACT, click this link to go to the website. The organization is always in need of donations both monetary and of personal hygiene items.



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