Rita Waters, Called in Retirement to Volunteer
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By Cherri Gregg
HAVERTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Rita Waters, 66, may be retired from a high-powered corporate career, but these days she’s busy being a career volunteer.
“My father taught me that we need to support where we come from, and we need to support it with time, with spirit, with money,” she says, “and I believe that God leads us in everything that we do.”
The Havertown, Pa. resident took these life lessons to heart. She spent 18 months working for the Obama presidential campaign, going door to door in the city of Chester.
“We were very proud,” she says. “Our team got out about 16,000 people to vote, which was a record in Chester.”
Referred to as “Miss Rita” by her 26-year-old manager for the campaign, Waters quickly became popular in Chester as she and her intergenerational team worked tirelessly to empower an underserved community.
“Whenever I drove around Chester, people would wave,” Waters recalls. “People always said, ‘Oh, you gotta be careful, it’s Chester.’ But I felt safe there. People knew me, they knew my car, and they wanted us to be successful.”
Today she volunteers with the Legacy of Love Foundation, an organization that gives scholarships and grants to help African-Americans and communities of color. The organization started as part of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and grew into it’s own entity.
“I’ll be coming off the board after six years,” she says. “It’s bittersweet.”
Waters also volunteers at her church, Mount Carmel Baptist Church, where she serves a trustee.
“I’m on the personnel committee the pulpit search committee,” she says, explaining that her pastor is retiring.
A mother of three, Waters is a survivor of domestic violence. She wanted to give back and help other women in similar straits, so she also spent years as chair of the board for the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, stepping down last year.
“I don’t do as much work with the women as I used to,” says Waters, “but I am an advocate for women and women’s projects, and they know if they need me, I am here.”
Miss Rita says God has led her to volunteering.
“It just brings me joy,” she says, “and we need more peace and love and joy in this world.”
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