BY BROOKSI HUDSON
CHARLESTON — Elease Amos-Goodwin has a certain flair, one that shows a dedication to the community and her brothers and sisters in Christ.
Earlier this year, her contributions were recognized when she was chosen as the 2005 Woman of the Year by the South Carolina Council of Catholic Women. Amos-Goodwin received a Lady of Good Counsel medal and an engraved plaque at the organization’s annual conference. She was chosen from a state full of other accomplished women.
“This year’s nominees were all exemplary Catholic women in their own right,” said Cherrin Moore, SCCCW president. “This year Elease, I guess you can safely say, stood out a little more from the others.”
Moore met Amos-Goodwin several years ago and said she has been impressed by her ever-present energetic, enthusiastic, and supportive attitude toward the organization.
In addition to those characteristics, it was Amos-Goodwin’s resume of volunteer work that made her an obvious choice for the annual honor. That resume also includes being selected as Woman of the Year for the Coastal Deanery.
Amos-Goodwin’s list of volunteer commitments includes church activities at St. Patrick Church, SCCCW Women’s Guild activities, working with the YWCA of greater Charleston, organizing the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., and mayoral breakfast, educating the community on various programs, organizing the St. Patrick’s ecumenical gathering in which members of the Jewish, Baptist, AME, and Episcopal faiths met to learn about other religions, and serving on the Public Policy Committee — to name a few.
Her philosophy for volunteer work is that she only volunteers where her expertise can assist those in need.
“I don’t join social organizations,” Amos-Goodwin said in an interview with The Miscellany. “Don’t get me wrong. I love to socialize, but there just isn’t enough time left. It is amazing how much work is left to be done.”
Her attitude is undaunted, however.
“My goal when I volunteer is to help the community and mankind in some small way,” she said.
After having read over Amos-Goodwin’s nomination packet, Moore said that she was amazed that one woman could accomplish all of these wonderful things.
“I believe that when we do for the least of our brothers we are never alone, for God’s unconditional love and support carries us through to completion and empowers us to continue his work here on earth,” Moore said.
It is this godly empowerment that has allowed Amos-Goodwin to make huge strides in assisting organizations that help children. Toward that goal she has chaired efforts that the Knights of Peter Claver have made for children and helped raise scholarship money for the United Negro College Fund.
She also organized a baby shower for 12 single mothers ages 18 and older that provided them with necessities from diapers to cribs and car seats.
“I contacted the proper agencies to get these young women what they needed during this difficult time. I tend to volunteer for committees geared toward aiding children,” she said.
Though not a mother herself, she nurtures those most in need.
“No wonder I don’t get any sleep,” she said. “When I think about all I do, it sounds so tiring. But you can miss a few hours of sleep, maybe give up a few weekends of rest to serve. We must all be cognizant of the needs of our community.”
Amos-Goodwin attributes her commitment to giving to her mother’s example. She used to serve on the Charleston County Council.
“She just expected me to do volunteer work,” Amos-Goodwin said. “I saw what had to be done and knew that I just didn’t have a choice.”
Neither did she have a choice about receiving some well-deserved notice from the SCCCW.
“Winning this award made me think maybe what I am doing is the right thing, but I don’t do this for accolades,” she said. “I learned early on that giving is fulfilling. If people are out there helping and aren’t fulfilled, they’ve chosen the wrong way to help.”
In addition to all of her community work Amos-Goodwin has a full-time job. She works for the Office of Cultural Affairs as the coordinator for the annual MOJA arts festival held each fall.
The 10-day African-American Caribbean arts festival is a time for artists to showcase their work. The festival includes food, music, and social awareness. Amos-Goodwin doesn’t let any opportunity pass. She uses the arts festival to disperse information to make the community a better place.
Festival booths represent groups ranging from the Center for Equal Justice to renters to buyers and others, she said. “We get out the information that the community needs. I see that need and MOJA is a great platform.”
“I just have to do all that I do,” said Amos-Goodwin. “The world is filled with so many issues, problems, and concerns. If we can make a difference in our hometowns the world will be a better place.”
Moore said that Amos-Goodwin is one of those people who sees the needs of her brothers and sisters and answers the call, and that she deserves the notice she received.
“I can’t imagine anyone being more deserving,” she said.