Local Woman Creates 'Widows of Opportunity'

Support group encourages women whose husbands have died


By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- Widows of Opportunity is a support group dedicated to educating widows, no matter their age, race, length of time being a widow or circumstances surrounding their spouse's death. The group's founder shares how she took her own pain and turned it into purpose to empower others.

Midlands widow, Kimberly Richardson, says throughout her grieving process, she had no help.

"Being a widow, you need consistency," says Richardson. "People are there for the first couple of days, then everyone leaves, so there's no one to help, no one to help me, to talk to, no support system."

To help ensure no other women endures what she did, she created 'Widows of Opportunity.' After a year of therapy and much prayer to deal with the unexpected death of husband, Robert McClendon, Kimberly, wanted other women to know the happiness she never thought she'd see.

"I told myself I will take this happiness and spread it," said Kimberly.

She founded 'Widows of Opportunity,' a support group, where women come together, share stories and learn effective ways of coping with the loss of their husbands. In fact, studies show interventions like support groups can work if accessed early in bereavement. Nearly two dozen ladies with widows of opportunity meet consistently, Kimberly says. Other come and go because staying the course of healing is hard for most.

Teowonna Clifton knows that first hand.

'I was 30 when I lost my husband," says Clifton. A decade after her husband died, the path to recovery has been difficult. She agrees organizations like Widows of Opportunity are necessary.

"No one understands like someone who has gone through that situation. It's about sisterhood, bonding and helping women progress, and it's important to recognize that in conjunction with Women's History Month.

National Women's History Month is a time to recognize women in history and those who make it. The theme for 2013 is: "Women Inspiring Imagination Through Innovation." Kimberly Richardson believes, with healing and a successful journey back to wholeness, Widows of Opportunity might lead the way to produce more history makers, for women where.

Widows of Opportunity meets the last Tuesday of each month at Long Creek Church of Christ, 720 Longtown Rd., Columbia. You may reach Kimberly Richardson at 803-238-5301 or visit www.widowsofopportunity.com for more information.
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