Sisterhood: Support vs. Begging There's A Difference

My Sister’s Keeper?

By Dawniel Winningham

Every day I get LOTS and I do mean LOTS of calls and text and messages asking for help.

I am a life and business coach and so to a certain extent it goes with the territory. Some don’t mind paying me for the knowledge that has taken me years, hours, and endless amounts of money to develop. Some do; and when they find out I won’t budge off my knowledge or my fees, they move around.

Sorry sister, you have to sacrifice and invest in yourself just as I’ve done, and continue to do.

But sometimes I get the kind of call that doesn’t cost me anything to help. Sometimes a sister reaches out to me because she is out of work, almost out of money, and needs to know where to go for her next steps. That’s the type of message I received today.
I won’t call her out by name because to be honest it could be ANY of us.

Maybe not today, but fate and this world is surely fickle enough that we have ALL been on hard times at one point or another. I tell my children often that most of us are only a paycheck or two from being in a bad situation. We as women often get the worst side of a divorce (because more often than not we have the kids) and struggle the hardest with job loss (single women like myself have only that one check to begin with).
Everyone knows how hard it is to FIND a job when you don’t have a job. People treat you like you have cooties. So again, she could have been any of us; either in the past or sometime in the future.

I am blessed that she felt comfortable enough to ask me for help. Too often we have to put up images for our sisters so that they won’t know times have gotten hard. Our pride won’t allow us to ask for help, and if someone comes to US for help we want to disassociate from THAT situation.

I am THANKFUL God allowed me to run across the information long ago that she needed to get help. Too often we ignore that type of information because it does not pertain to us, as opposed to collecting and openly sharing such information as a blessing. I remember growing up (with nothing) my mom and her circle of single mother friends ALWAYS knew who had free lunches, who had free layaway, who had free groceries, who had free eye glasses, etc., but now we act as if we’re too good to stay in touch with those things that could help us all when we need it most.

I am WISHFUL that as we move forward as a universal sisterhood, that we build the type of bridges that allow our fellow sisters to come for us for help in dire situations. Not saying we have to help them all personally, that is what community service is for, and trust I do my share. But I am saying that there needs to be a common place and common knowledge of those programs that can help US when we need help. I am not talking about just social services. I am talking about other privately funded programs that already EXISTS and that are willing to help us out BEFORE we are left with nothing.

Until then, I will keep helping the women that come my way and encourage you to do the same. Stay up on those programs and services that are designed to help women make it through. Ask questions about what happens when WE are left with nothing BEFORE it happens to us or those around us.

And more than ANYTHING realize that YES, WE ARE OUR SISTER’S KEEPER, because frankly, we are all MORE alike than we are different.

And we are all only a stroke of luck away from the biggest blessing or the biggest letdown.
Dawniel Patterson Winningham is founder of National Day of Sisterhood celebrated each year on December 12th. The goal is to help women of diverse ethnic backgrounds realize that When Women work TOGETHER, anything is possible. This year’s theme is “A Time for New Beginnings: Community, Education, Health, and Business.” Connect with us on and follow us on twitter at @sisterhoodday for updated information on how we will broaden the movement this year. To get involved as an ambassador or sponsor, join our mailing list at
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