‘Action Shero’ aptly describes Connie Watson who uses her love of children and families to develop programs to meet their needs.
As executive director of the highly acclaimed People Who Care Youth Center (PWCYC), Watson’s credo is “making a positive difference in the community through a continuum of services that emphasize self-sufficiency and empowerment.”
PWCYC, located at 1500 West Slauson Avenue, caters to youngsters and teens in the heart of South Los Angeles. They offer services for first offenders ages 13-17, after-care for youth released from incarceration, in-home assistance to families with children up to five-years-old, and parenting educational strategies.
Also, at-risk youth can participate in the ‘Road to Success,’ an after-school program providing counseling, academic enrichment, conflict resolution workshops, computer training, employment readiness and life skills development.
Watson, who previously enjoyed a successful career in entertainment public relations, was motivated by love to pursue her current line of work.
“I couldn’t resist returning to a full-time commitment to the mental, social, economic, educational and physical well being of children and families,” she said.
“As a foster parent, I witness first-hand the effects of abuse and neglect on innocent children and as a kinship caregiver of a small grandchild, I have experienced frustration with a sometimes less than responsive protective services system.”
But rather than watch helplessly, Watson went into action developing programs, pursuing funding, and actively participating in the education of local and national policy makers.
Her involvement led to appointments as secretary of the Western Slauson Redevelopment Project Area Community Advisory Committee, chair of the Second Supervisorial District Empowerment Congress Human Services Committee, and treasurer of the National Association of Black Social Workers as well as the local Greater Los Angeles Chapter. In addition, she serves on the Economic Development Committee of Brookins Community A.M.E. Church and a board member of Brookins Economic Development Corporation.
The activities of Action Shero Watson have not gone unnoticed by the greater LA community. Her commendations include the Angel of Peace Award in 2003 from the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles, the 48th Assembly District Woman of the Year in 2005, and the Hero of The Day Award in 2007 from Agape International Spiritual Center.
On October 26, LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas presented the Educate Award to Watson and PWCYC during the Empowerment Congress 20th Anniversary Gala Celebration and Awards Ceremony.
While appreciating the recognition, Watson insists it won’t slow her actions on behalf of children and families.
“The role of agencies such as PWCYC continues to be needed. As a direct services provider, I am able to observe the effects that the lack of early preparation for self-sufficiency, parenting, and coping has on families. And as an administrator of a non-profit agency, I will do all I can to ensure the development of healthy families and help to make it a high priority among local and national policy-making entities.”