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Pain into purpose: Charlotte mom turns tragedy into mission to help others

Published: Sep. 26, 2021 at 11:22 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2021 at 5:54 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte mother has turned the pain of losing her child’s father to gun violence into helping other families who’ve also lost a loved one.

“Some days I didn’t know if I was coming and going, but like I said I just had to stay encouraged and keep praying and pressing my way because I know that I had a son that needed me more than anything,” Ebony Woods said.

In August 2008, Roderiquez Simmons was murdered in Charlotte. Simmons is the father of Woods’ son. Now, 13 years later, she’s ready to help other families and children get past the grief she knows first-hand.

“My focus now is on these families, to give them the love and support and the counseling and the help...whatever they may need. I want to be that community outlet, that community leader to be able to assist them,” she said.

On Sunday at the West Charlotte Recreation Center, Woods’ organization “Pain Into Purpose” hosted a back-to-school jam.

There was food, games and music.

“We all have a purpose. It may take some time. It may take journeys, alleys, valleys may lose some, win some, but we all have a purpose,” Woods said.

She says she also wants to provide tutoring opportunities for children and be an outlet to have those tough questions answered.

“Tutoring or they just need somebody to talk to, I want to be a community leader, or the outlet for the children. And I discovered that because, even now, my son is 15 now, and it’s been so many years when he never released it, but now since he is older, he has questions, unanswered questions,” she said.

Other community organizations such as Drills Of Hope and Take Back Our H.O.O.D.S. were also at the event.

“When you go to these homicides or when you lose someone you love, you know everybody is there for the candlelight, everybody is there for the balloon release, but as months go and years go on, you find yourself alone,” said Lucille Puckett with Take Back Our H.O.O.D.S.

With the recent crime across Charlotte -- that has often involved children -- the hope is that the encouragement from events like the jam goes a long way.

“All of us to come together as a union and show unity and love and support, come together as a community,” Woods added.

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