ORLANDO, Fla. — Nadine Mentor Williams is the portrait of an investment banker and community servant.
She is also the daughter of a woman who raised three children as a single mother and set an incredible example of determination and perseverance.
“(My mother) taught us the importance of education and working hard, and she sacrificed a lot for us,” Williams said. “She worked three jobs to make sure we received the education and the environment that was positive for us to grow up in.”
She is now paying it forward.
Read: Women’s History Month: One local woman’s journey to grow her business
Her work in our community started 18 years ago when she moved to Orlando from Homestead and immediately volunteered with Outreach Love, where she mentored young girls.
One year into mentoring, she asked her mentee what she would do once school was out.
“She said, ‘I’m going to hang out with my boyfriend,’ and she’s 14 at the time, and I was like (that’s a) red flag,” Williams said. “And I said, ‘well, I’m going to find a great summer camp.’”
Read: 9 legendary women from Central Florida
Her search turned out to be a dead end, so she gave birth to a valuable investment – an empowerment program focused on girls in local middle and high schools.
“That night, I couldn’t sleep, and I created an outline that became The Greatest Investment empowerment program, and that’s how TGI was created,” Williams said.
Williams said the best referrals are girls who have attended the program, and they are at Jones, Oakridge and Evans High Schools.
Read: Central Florida nurse works to help with nationwide nursing shortage
These programs will continue relationships with the girls in the program because TGI’s mission ensures that costs do not deter young girls from opportunity.
“The greatest part of the camp is the access, access to the programs, professional development, wealth building, mental health community service and giving back,” Williams said.
Her mother instilled those values in her and her siblings growing up.
Read: ‘I got a lot of pushback’: Orlando’s first female mayor reflects on time in politics
The four-week camp is free, along with year-round programs offered at the schools.
Local community volunteers, people in positions of power, and those with influence who understand the importance of giving back to youth help lead the program.
“Your home may not be the best, (and) your school may not be the best, but you have a network and a village,” Williams said.
It costs about $250 a week per girl to be put in the summer camp, including food, facilities, and supplies.
The program is hosting its fifth annual fundraiser on Mar. 30 at the Amway Center to help young girls attend the camp at no cost.
For more information about that fundraiser and how to support the foundation, tickets can be purchased here.
This browser does not support the video element.
Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.
— to www.wftv.com