One of the things I didn’t mention was that after I graduated high school, I actually became homeless because my mother said, “Okay you graduated, too many mouths to feed, got to go.” [laughs]. So here I was at seventeen, which is when I graduated, trying to navigate with a two-year old, don’t have a work I.D. I really just had to volunteer and the folks at teen care really really helped support me in that and connected me to agencies. I was in there doing dictation, filing, whatever it was to make sure my child had child care. It was tough but I look at what I do now, you know we’re not really conscious sometimes of the people around us. We see people and we make assumptions but we don't know what people’s lives have been and so for me it’s really wanting to make sure that those people, people looked at as less than or whatever it is, I’m going back to help those folks.
Rev. Dr. Gizel Hampton was born in 1972 in Antigua. In 1983, she left Antigua and came to live in Worcester. Gizel is the associate pastor at St. John’s Baptist Church in Worcester and also a social worker for The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Gizel’s favorite part of Worcester is all the opportunities and history that are unknown to many. Gizel associates with a Western Caribbean background, but considers herself an American. She traveled to the United States at the young age of 11 and has been here ever since. The drastic changes throughout her life have shaped her into the strong and independent person she is today. Her sense of religion has guided her throughout the most difficult times in her life, such as when she gave birth to her daughter at 15 years old. Gizel demonstrates what it is to be a role model for women within society. She wants women to always remember, “Ladies you matter, matter, matter. You are valuable and don’t let anyone determine your worth.”