Prospective Sistaz and Soljaz with Vizionz member Thomas “Joker” McLaurin became involved with the social club after he saw them handing out backpacks and school supplies at a Hillery Park barbecue.
“I’ve seen them do a lot of good stuff in the community they don’t look for a thank you or to get noticed,” McLaurin said.
That attitude won the 16-member group the Volunteer Social Club of the Year award.
Group president and founder Lissette
“L Boogie” Flores established the group as Sistaz with Vizionz in 2010, and it made a co-ed expansion in January to help positive messages reach young men.
Since then, the group has awarded one $500 scholarship each year to students at area high schools and has gotten involved in Relay for Life and Toys for Tots initiatives, Flores said.
They also host monthly parties for the Liberty County Senior Center members and prepare Thanksgiving meals for the same group each year during Thanksgiving week.
“That’s too much fun and too awesome,” Flores said about the parties.
“That’s our history, the older people are where we’ve been, and the younger people are where we’re going, and it’s really important to work with both of them,” she said.
The group plans to hold a golf tournament in coming months, and funds raised will benefit projects like Relay for Life, sponsor families at Christmas and go toward Alzheimer’s research, Flores said.
“In a month’s time, I would say we at least give 40 hours in a month, and sometimes it could be more,” Flores said. “Come those big programs, when it’s Toys for Tots, we’re there as much as possible; when it’s Relay for Life, we’re there as much as possible … it just depends on the season. During the winter time, this is our busiest season.”
She also would like to coordinate a teen forum to address real-life topics such as bullying and teen pregnancy.
“Our kids are our future, and our motto is no visions, no future … some of these kids, they don’t have any visions,” she said.
And Flores can relate to losing sight of her visions; she’s overcome several obstacles in the past that drive her desire to encourage others to set goals and live positively.
The other members in her group also bring an array of backgrounds and life experiences, which enhances the club’s community involvement, she said.
“My members are great people. They all have different backgrounds, and we’re a big family and like families, we agree to disagree,” she added.
McLaurin, who has been in the area for years, seconds the family aspect. He even benefitted from the group’s help when he went through a rough patch.
“I don’t have a family down here at all, and one day I was struggling with paying my rent and my light bill, and they helped me out,” he said.
He also saw the group throw together a charity ride so a local woman could bury a loved one.
“I grew up back in North Atlanta in a rough neighborhood, and we never had nobody and no kind of organization like this right here that actually helped out, period,” McLaurin added.
For Flores and the group, it all comes back to lending a helping hand to inspire others.
“We’re here for everybody. If we can do it, we will be on it,” Flores said. “We get asked to do a lot of things, and sometimes we do have to turn down people, … but we would love to start taking letters for Christmas to find out who’s really in need of a white Christmas.”
To become involved with the club, call Flores at 912-312-7258.
Editor's note: This is one in a series about volunteers recently honored by the Coastal Courier and United Way of Liberty County.