Lucille O'Neal and Lorrie Wolf Interview

Wake up early. Make sure the kids are prepared and on time for school. Get dinner ready, help with homework, spend quality time with the kids before bedtime, and try to find a few minutes for herself. Being a great mom is a non-stop effort, often with few accolades. But that’s about to change for Hickory, NC, resident Lorrie Wolfe (on the left), who’s proven to not only be a great mom, but an exceptional one! For her efforts, Wolfe has been named by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE: KMB) the 2012 Most Inspirational Mom.

The search, which highlights everyday moms doing extraordinary things, sought finalists and named Ms. Wolfe their winner based on her contributions to their children, families and communities.

Wolfe is a single mother of three, including one child with Asperger’s syndrome. She recently celebrated her sixth anniversary as a domestic violence survivor. Her children have watched the family go from a life of domestic violence with no money, no car and no job to a safe and happy life with a home, car and food in the refrigerator. Wolfe has encouraged her kids to think big and work hard in pursuit of their dreams. Wolfe now works with at-risk youth and she collects clothes, school supplies, researching part-time jobs for teens and soliciting donations from businesses. Wolfe has now been named Most Inspirational Mom.

The Most Inspirational Mom search is part of BGCA’s Family PLUS (Parents, Leading, Uniting, Serving) initiative, which is a family strengthening program derived from BGCA’s long-standing partnership with Kimberly-Clark. Family PLUS encourages Boys & Girls Clubs around the country to integrate family strengthening activities into their programming, in addition to hosting Family Nights to help teach parents a number of skills to strengthen their own families. Currently some 2,000 Boys & Girls Clubs around the country are implementing Family PLUS into their programming.

Lucille O'Neal (on the right) is best known as the mother of NBA Basketball Star Shaquille O'Neal, but she is also the author of a motivational book titled Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go - a story about her exceptional life journey that included life as an unwed teen mother, struggles with alcohol and her determination to get a college degree in her 40s.

O'Neal's early acquaintance with turmoil shaped her perspective and strengthened her resolve to overcome the challenges she would encounter later in life. She endured poverty, rejection, abuse, addiction, and the illness of a child, yet today her faith and compassion for others are stronger than ever. O'Neal writes candidly-and often humorously-about her years of spiritual unrest and mental welfare, and her return to the God of her childhood.

Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go, O'Neal shares her struggles and disappointments, against the backdrop of her sweetest memories and proudest accomplishments. After fifty-six years, O'Neal has gained the wisdom to recognize her wrongs and guide other women down a different path. Her story is proof that it's never too late for a new beginning.

O'Neal has also contributed to the development of the SHAQ NETWORK as the Chief Operations Officer. She managed the day-to-day operations of the first official Shaquille O’Neal Fan Club until October 2003. In addition to the duties in her son’s organization, Lucille co-founded the Mother’s of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) and served four years as executive secretary (1996-2000). She was very instrumental in the leadership and development of the organization’s goals and objectives. The MPBP was created to provide support to mothers whose sons and daughters were currently playing or had played in the National Basketball Association and the Women’s National Basketball Association. Since the organization’s inception the MPBP has endeavored to support the communities represented by the players and their mothers. Today she serves as the current President of this restructured organization; The Mother’s of Professional Basketball Players, Inc. 

Lucille’s straightforward attitude and ability to adapt to any situation has equipped her with a tireless ability to serve. Whether chairing fundraising events like “Shaq’s Mama Said Knock You Out!” (an annual premier event featuring a variety of celebrity hosts, including Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Dennis Scott, to benefit The Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund; named in memory of her Mother) or rolling up her sleeves to assist other organizations at the grass roots level, Lucille gives her all for the cause. As a newly appointed Board Member of Orlando’s Ovarian Cancer Alliance and a new member of MD Anderson’s Council of Governors, it is evident that her commitment and devotion to others is conveyed through her extraordinary volunteer efforts (past and present) and her involvement with numerous charitable organizations. Lucille’s dedication to diverse causes underscores her heart for humanity. She has made countless contributions to various charities and continues to be an inspiration to many people, young and old. After 30 years of raising two sons and two daughters, Lucille resumed her studies in an Adult Education Program at Bethune-Cookman University where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (June 2003). In 2005 she completed her graduate program (Master of Arts in Organizational Management) at the University of Phoenix.

A longtime supporter and alumni of Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), Lucille is the ambassador of the Family PLUS (Parents Leading, Uniting and Serving) initiative, which is encourages local Clubs to implement family strengthening activities into their programming. In 2011-12, Lucille will help BGCA and Kimberly-Clark identify the country’s Most Inspirational Mom through a nationwide search.

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