Sixty-four-year-old Glenda Woolfolk, the founder, CEO and president of local non-profit, No Sister Left Behind said the archetype of the “strong Black woman” can sometimes lead women of the community to go through the challenges of life alone. She seeks to change that.
“It is a passion of mine to see women well,” Woolfolk said.
Woolfolk has been active in Bakersfield for years: She owns Vi Dora hair extensions which has given scholarships to local nursing students. Before retiring, she was also an officer with the Department of Corrections and a correctional counselor.
She grew up with a single black mother-, watching the struggles she had to go through, she said.
“Yet, she was a strong woman,” Woolfolk said. “I think that we take that strong woman scenario and think we’re all supposed to be like that without relinquishing to some of the weaknesses we have.”
So, Woolfolk founded No Sister Left Behind to address the health disparities of Black women in social, mental, emotional, physical, financial, career and community well being.
Woolfolk pointed to a Johns Hopkins report that anyone can suffer from mental health issues, but black women are half as likely to seek help.
“It’s just taboo. You’re strong. You can make it through. Because our history has proven that we are a resilient people,” Woolfolk said. “But there are still things we need to stop and take notice of, because on the flip side, negative things are in our culture because we don’t stop and pay attention to those things.”
No Sister Left Behind aims to remind women that they are not alone in needing help.
Since January, the organization has been holding Facebook live streams with vetted health experts like local psychiatrists and therapists to give a snippet of the resources women can tap into through the nonprofit. Some of their offerings so far include grief and bereavement counseling with therapist, Stephanie Prince and dietary workshops with wellness doctor, Dr. Hugh Beatty. Official events will begin virtually in may.
Woolfolk added that even though the organization is founded on Black women, all races of women face these disparities, so it's open to all.
“I just want to make sure there are no boundaries, no walls for No Sister Left Behind. That we are open to be a better community of Black people for our city,” she said.