Volunteer of the Week: Fermika Smith sees the world through the lens of volunteerism

Published 12:25 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2024

The Volunteer of the Week is Fermika Smith. She was born and raised in Vicksburg. Smith is the administrator at Elite Performance and Rehab. She has been married to Christopher Smith for 21 years and they have a three-year-old Yorkie named Poppi. Smith is a member of Vicksburg High School’s class of 1996 and she is a 2002 graduate of Alcorn State University.

How did your volunteering begin?

I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve in several capacities here in Vicksburg. All opportunities where I felt someone saw more in me than I saw in myself at the time, which is a blessing. Each organization holds a personal place in my life:

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Delta Sigma Theta Sorority member since 2009; Vicksburg Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, past chair; United Way of West Central Mississippi, current board chair; Salvation Army Board of Directors, current secretary; Habitat for Humanity, current board member; Good Shepherd, current board member; Les Soeurs Charmantes Social and Civic Club, current member; Chamber Ambassador.

How long have you been volunteering with these organizations?

Years of volunteering with different organizations has spanned over more than 18 years.

What is your favorite memory while volunteering?

There have been, and continue to be, many memories that would rank high on my list, but the one that stands out the most was of a single father who all of a sudden found himself unable to feed his three daughters. I could tell he was a proud man and struggled with requesting assistance for food. This was a very humbling circumstance, but the reward was knowing that he later got on his feet, and was able to provide for his girls. At the moment, he just needed a helping hand.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?

One of my favorite quotes in regards to volunteering is by Muhammad Ali. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Through volunteering, we’re able to see the world through a different lens. To me, it’s a way that God humbles our hearts as he allows us to see so much more than what’s outside our front door.

What are some of your tasks while volunteering? 

Raising funds for scholarships, advocating for decent and affordable housing, providing the chance for Christmas to be made just a bit more special for our children and elderly in our community; in general, sharing and overseeing programs that educate, inspire and allow some of the most vulnerable citizens of our city to thrive.

What have you learned from volunteering?

I’ve learned that everyone has a story. I’ve learned that your story may not sound like mine, and mine may not sound like yours. But, when given the opportunity, we should all share our story in hopes that it will empower, uplift and inspire someone else.  I’ve learned that God gives, and God takes away, but that we must remain faithful and trust in him in all things.

How can someone who might be interested in volunteering get involved?

Fortunately, for anyone who lives in the Vicksburg area, there’s a plethora of volunteer opportunities. The United Way of West Central Mississippi is a great starting point. I hear some amazing people work there and they can point you in the right direction.

If there is a volunteer who should be featured, please submit their name and contact information to volunteer@vicksburgpost.com.