Me: Tell the readers who Amy Williams is outside of speaking or working with youth or gangs.
Really great question. Usually when I do my talks I tell everybody my name is Amy Williams
and I am a hot mess and I need Jesus. What I love how He can take a Hot Mess like me and use me
to impact the lives of people. At the end of the day, I truly am just a child of God, I call Him ‘daddy.’
I’m just His baby girl, on the same journey our young people are on and someone who is in desperate need of a
Savior. I am someone who wants to make an incredible diference in this world.
Outside of that I am a woman who loves culture . . . very much into Hip Hop culture; I was born and raised in it and
in a lot of ways it is how I found my voice as a teenager. I really love people. I simply love to travel, Puerto Rico is
my favorite place in the world. I feel closest to God when I am on the beach but to sum it up I am someone who
loves God, loves people, cares about community and is in desperate need of a Savior herself.
Me: Tell us about your background and how you decided to choose the career you have chosen.
It’s funny because I always wanted to be the next Oprah Winfrey. I wanted to be the kind of ‘Oprah’ that
would bring issues to the surface and expose things – especially being biracial and having dealt with a lot of the
things I dealt with growing up. After receiving my Bachelors with a focus in advertising and public relations, and
Masters in written communications I found that I had a real passion for writing and creating. I’ve always been
one who pulls for the “underdog.” I would absolutely say I did not choose this career, I was just drawn to it after
working with my ex-husband – he worked with the youth in ministry. Additionally, my brother was in a gang in
LA and I Felt like I was ±ghting For him as well. I have just Felt drawn to work with youth and I am glad the Lord is
leading me in this direction.
Me: What are some of the challenges you face in working with youth or gangs?
That is a very BIG question. What aren’t the challenges (chuckles)? There are so many. One thing is a
challenge but it is also a bene±t and that’s being a woman - the gang members will look at me like a ‘ma’ or an
‘aunty.’ Being a woman there are places I can go and things I can say that men cannot do. I can walk through the
neighborhood and it would not be questioned, whereas a random man can walk through the neighborhood and
they will get “checked.” A main challenge is ±ghting against the darkness. These types oF challenges will cause
burn out very quickly – so you have to know that you are called to this world. Another challenge is not having
enough churches or enough people in the church who are committed to walking the block or becoming a light
in a kid’s darkness; because they are kids beFore they are gang members. The challenge is ±ghting against the
darkness and ±nding people who will not abandon the kids. It’s not ‘they’ and ‘them’ it’s ‘we’ and ‘us.’ Being a
woman in this ±eld I can ofer that passion, tender voice yet boldness that men cannot provide. You have to know
that you are called to this work, because you can burn out very quickly.
Me: How does your faith and belief in God play a part in your career?
Well it’s the biggest part of my career. My faith and belief in God is the reason why I do what I do. It’s what
inspires me and it is what calls me to do what I do – to love people and ±ght For justice . . . without Faith, without
God there is no way I could be doing what I am doing. I have to have something to ofer to this young people that
is greater than me.
Me: Is there anything more you would like to share? Is there a favorite quote or scripture you live by?
Amy: One of my favorite quotes is “Preach the gospel and use words if necessary.” I’ve found that
the most powerful way to minister to the young people that I serve is simply by living it and being
consistent, and being vulnerable and being real and see my struggle and even in my struggle I refuse
to give up. My life scripture is Psalm 139 because it reminds me that I am God’s idea and He has a purpose for me.
Me: What advice would you ofer to youth or those who work with youth?
Those are two completely diferent messages so what I would like to do is share what advice I’d give to
those who work with youth – there’s so much to say but let me share this - we have to stop doing ministry to kids
and start doing ministry with kids. Young people have a voice, young people normally aren’t heard. We are in a
position to give young people a voice. We have to engage them. Don’t just have them picking up the trash after
service, have them leading the service. To the youth worker, “You are not God.” We have really messed up the
de±nition oF mentoring. Mentoring is really about walking liFe with young people as they are on their own journey
of discovery of who they are and who God created them to be.
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