Meet Harry Rochester Williams: Living a Life of Service for Others

"Seeing the joy from the kids eyes, but the joy and tears from the mother's eyes...I have inspired to bring that same joy to someone else's life by doing whatever I can to help them, help themselves."
Harry at the HandUp holiday celebration!

Harry at the HandUp holiday celebration!

It's not often you meet someone like Harry, someone who is truly committed to service in his community. He currently volunteers for five different local organizations while pursing a double degree at University of California in Berkeley - this following a recent graduation from a construction management program. That's not all, Harry also works as a home care aide and substitute teacher. Originally from the small town of Swansea, South Carolina, Harry is one of four siblings. Even though he's not the youngest, Harry tells us his family considers him the "baby" because he's endearingly a momma's boy. Learn more about Harry below, and what his one thing is to in making a difference in 2016.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day, we're highlighting people who do so much for others in the community. Learn more here and tell us, what is the one thing you are doing to create change this year?


What inspires you to give back?

Back in South Carolina I was privileged to be a student of a nation-wide educational program called Upward Bound.  This program is for middle-low income students, who have maintained at least a 3.0 gpa throughout middle and high school and wish to go to college but have not the financial means.  The program provides private tutoring, advanced teaching and most of all a stipend every other week to students that successfully attend their classes every other weekend.  Every year the Juniors and Seniors are required, also, to complete 100 hours during the summer doing some kind of community service.  Our team/school chose Habitat for Humanities.  Once the house and landscape had been completed we were asked to come back for the ribbon cutting and to be present when the mayor handed over the keys to the single-mom of three.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.  Seeing the joy from the kids eyes, but the joy and tears from the mother's eyes, which were saying "Thank you for helping me be able to better provide and protect my three babies...Thank you for peace of mind...," so of course, every since that hot summer day in 1996, Columbia South Carolina, I have inspired to bring that same joy to someone else's life by doing whatever I can to help them, help themselves.

What are some of your favorite things to do that make a difference in the community? 

As I stated earlier, I have two wonderful and responsible positions: teaching and nursing.  So those are the first two things I will list because I, myself, get joy and excited going to work everyday because I know that I am making a difference in someone's life.  But in addition, to teaching and nursing, I do A LOT of volunteering.  To be exact I am currently volunteering for five organizations, which are Laguna Honda Hospital, SFFD (San Francisco Fire Department), SF SPCA (Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals), SF Symphony, and San Francisco Public Library. As to date, I believe I have completed over 500 hours of volunteer hours with all organizations combined and still volunteering.  My goal is to reach 1000 hours by 2017. That is all!

Who inspires you the most in the community?

The one person that most inspires me, is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is your one thing you’re committing to in making a difference in 2016?

I plan on really becoming a "Big Brother" by the end of 2016.  I was blessed to have two big brothers that protected me, taught me, played with me and we as men now have a strong foundation of relationships with each other and other guys that are not even related.  I want to provide that same security to a young man growing up in hard conditions.  I want to be able to let him know that someone DOES care, someone DOES love him, simply some DOES notice him.  I really want to see less young men on the streets dealing drugs and not fulfillingtheir destinies. And also, renew my CPR certification so that I am prepared for "the worse".

We are so grateful to have Harry share his story with us. Tell us, what are you doing in the service of others? Tweet @HandUp and tell us what your one thing is with #myonething and we'll share your story!