Windows of Opportunity

Kimberly Richardson conducts a monthly Widows of Opportunity meeting in the sanctuary of LongCreek Church of Christ on Longtown Road. (Photo/Barbara Ball)

COLUMBIA – Kimberly Richardson was 24 years old and the mother of a young son when her husband was killed in a car accident on Oct. 17, 2003. While she had a large, loving family and lots of friends to comfort her during the weeks following the accident, Richardson said she felt overwhelmingly alone.

After the funeral was over and everyone went back to their lives, Richardson said she was not only still broken hearted over the loss of her husband, but the magnitude of what was before her settled in.

“I had to become both mother and father. I had to start earning a living for me and my son, and I missed my husband terribly,” said the New York native who moved to Camden with her family when she was young. “It was a very traumatic time for me.”

Since then, Richardson has not only picked up the pieces but has bravely forged ahead, organizing a support group that sustains and enhances life after loss for herself as well as for other widows in South Carolina and around the world. She launched Widows of Opportunity, a 501 (c) (3), locally in 2011. That group meets on the last Tuesday of each month at the LongCreek Church of Christ, located at 720 Longtown Road near Blythewood where Richardson is a member. In 2013, she expanded, organizing a group in Atlanta. Word of the organization has spread through social media, with groups forming as far away as Lusaka, Zambia.

“Our core services include one-on-one meetings and partnering with agencies to provide members with real support including emergency financial assistance and workshops that provide professional advice in areas such as legal, insurance and how to make the most of a new, unexpected, unwanted independence. Plus, the group frequently goes out to dinner and movies together,” Richardson said. “We are there to help each other through a unique loss that might be hard for others to fully appreciate.”

As a result of her work with Widows of Opportunity, Richardson has become a popular motivational speaker and her organization has been featured in many Midland’s publications and on local TV and radio programs as far away as Texas. The exposure has resulted not only in getting the word out to widows about the group’s existence, but it has brought growing support from agencies willing to provide assistance to widows, Richardson said.

For information about joining Widows of Opportunity or to lend support, call 803-238-5301 or go to widowsofopportunity.com.