The community surrounding the LCEC is filled with people from every walk of life- working moms, college students, new families, seniors, and everything in between. In today’s spotlight, we introduce Clarice- an entrepreneur, mom of two, former teacher, and counselor. Read on to meet this amazing woman living right here in your neighborhood.
Born and raised in Madison along with six brothers and sisters, Clarice grew up in a happy household to a “hardworking mom that proved you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Period.” As an adult, Clarice was able to go to college to become a teacher, just as she had always imagined as a little girl. Upon having her own children, that profession no longer best served her and her family, and she knew she had to start something new.
Moving on from teaching after 8 years and with the rise of COVID, Clarice now works for Project Recovery, a program through Community Action Coalition, that has trained her to become a counselor. In her new career, Clarice gets to connect with clients over the phone. Starting with an easy question of “Hey, how are you doing?”, that simple check in can turn into hours long conversations that allow her clients to vent their frustrations, sadness, and joys. Clarice notes, “With COVID here, everyone is struggling, especially with mental health, and sometimes people just want someone to check in on them.” Dividing her time between clients and outreach, Clarice has loved the connections she gets to make with so many different and wonderful people.
As if being a mom and working her job wasn’t already enough, Clarice is also starting her own business. With the support of her family, Clarice saved a little bit of money, did some research on how to run a business, and in November 2020, launched her Black-owned cleaning business, Mrs. Turnover. She secured a $5,000 grant to help grow her business by purchasing a truck and proper cleaning supplies so they can do bigger projects.
All of this hasn’t come easily. Clarice experienced homelessness more than once, sleeping on peoples couches or living in abandoned buildings. She shared, “There were times that I needed help badly, and I just couldn’t find it.” Now, she wants to give back.
In that vein, she started the Crisis at Hand Facebook group to “build a community of support around so many of us left without the care we need”. Clarice first started Crisis at Hand to help incarcerated individuals, raising funds and collecting donations to purchase books for inmates. They have already provided 30 books based on specific inmate requests.
She has since opened up Crisis at Hand to the entire Madison and Sun Prairie communities, sharing, “There is always someone struggling… If I’m able to, I want to be there to help.” she has led an essentials drive in partnership with Feeding the Youth that provided over 150 families with necessary hygiene products and cleaning supplies, and she just completed an Easter drive that allowed her to hand out 40 Easter baskets to kids. Crisis at Hand is currently an unofficial organization comprised of people power and the desire to help others, but Clarice is exploring making it a registered 501(c)3. You can find Crisis at Hand on Facebook to follow along or get involved.
When asked how and why she does all of this, Clarice answered quite simply, “I sleep better at night knowing that I’ve helped somebody… and I do it for my kids. They’re watching, and they’re sponges. They are learning from everything I do, and I want them to know that life is not just handed to you.” Clarice embodies compassion, hard work, and dedication- all concepts that drive a healthy community.
Thank you for everything you do for your neighborhood, Clarice!
If you are interested in supporting her Black-owned, Black-managed small business, inquiries can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org or to (502)319-2028.
Interview conducted by LCEC Administrative Assistant, Cliff Wilford.