Kelli Woodard: A Real-Life Wonder Woman

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss

The Woodward Family

When I think of Kelli Woodard, one word comes to mind: amazing.

I’ve known Kelli for years, and one of the constants about her is that she is such a giver: she gives of her time, wisdom, support and love. Over the past four years or so, she has even given more than those things; she has given of herself completely to be the foster mom for four boys, from different African countries. Kelli knew very little of their native tongues. Nevertheless, Kelli chose to speak the language of love and provide a safe and protected home for them to grow in.

My jaw drops when I consider all that Kelli sacrifices for these young men. She’s made it her mission to engulf herself in their native cultures: playing their music in the house, learning their languages and even buying foods that they are accustomed to. Not many people would give of themselves for one person, let alone four refugee minors. It seems like such a huge feat in my eyes. But for her, it is simply something her heart tasked her to do for them.

Every 18 seconds, a child somewhere becomes an orphan. Without people like Kelli, hundreds of thousands of kids who have been subjected to neglect, abuse or risk of harm could be left to deal with personal or emotional trauma on their own, most likely without clear expectations of family reunification or any type of permanent relocation plan.

With all the turmoil going on in 2017, it’s so easy to feel downtrodden, emotionally heavy, distraught, and perhaps a little hopeless. But I think about all that Kelli has chosen to do for her boys, despite never birthing a child herself, and I’m reminded that we can all do something to make the world a little brighter. You may not be in a position to foster kids or even birth a baby. But everyone of us can help make the lives of others better in some manner or form to be a beacon of hope for those who may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The thing is, you can’t wait on external circumstances to lift you up. That light and joy exists inside of you; it’s simply wrapped up in selflessness, sacrifice and benevolence.

Saving the world is a feat idolized by comic book characters with superhuman strength. In the real world, though, we all have the opportunity to save the world one decision at a time by devoting a little less to trivial, self-serving luxuries and dedicating more of ourselves and our spirits to those who need it most. Kelli is a shining example of that. She may not be a Hollywood superhero, but she is definitely the epitome of a true Wonder Woman to me.


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