The WOW Legacy Group is helping local women in need rebuild their lives and Fall into Fabulous
Sometimes, when life is too much to handle, you need a friend to help you get back on your feet. The WOW Legacy Group, based in Lake Mary, has been that friend to many local women.
WOW founder Secily Wilson, a former Orlando TV anchor and Miss Florida 1999, had it all – until one day six years ago when an on-air stroke left her unable to speak. The physical challenges of the stroke, the loss of her career, a recent divorce, and subsequent foreclosure on Secily’s home all took a toll.
“Things started to spiral out of control,” says Secily. “I was distraught and discouraged. My life had fallen apart. There were no bad choices or bad decisions. Life just happened.”
During a self-admitted pity party after her move to a much smaller home, Secily got some frank advice from a well-meaning girlfriend: snap out of it.
“She told me that all that stuff I had was excess,” Secily explains, “and that I needed to take what I had and go and help others.”
Sometimes a dose of reality and the help of a friend are just what we need.
“That one little spark ignited a fire,” says Secily.
Out of her own adversity, she formed the nonprofit, women-in-action WOW Legacy Group to help others in need. Six years later, the organization is focused on helping local ladies in transition and has given a hand to 150 women and families in Seminole and Orange counties.
“When we have had the rug pulled out from under us, when life falls apart, we Fall into Fabulous,” says Secily, invoking the name of WOW’s signature program.
Fall into Fabulous is a six-month program to assist women in need with mental health and wellness, financial improvement, continuing education, professional development, community service, and establishing a personal brand. Coaches (often graduates of the very same program) mentor other women who have faced catastrophic life changes, helping them regain confidence, land a job, and manage their new or changing financial situation.
“We tell these women, ‘We can do this together, we just need a little TLC,’” says Secily. “We’re in it together, and we’ll make it through this.
These women are facing adversities just like I did. We want to empower and encourage these women to be thriving members of the community.”
Everyone in the program enjoys a Day of Fabulosity, during which they are treated to makeovers and a shopping spree in a boutique of donated, high-end clothing and accessories.
“We work on the total package: mind, body, and spirit,” says Secily.
The highlight of the Fall into Fabulous program is a fashion show where graduates emerge on the catwalk empowered, confident, and ready to take on all that life may throw their way.
“The fabulous piece is not the superficial piece,” explains Secily. “The fabulous part is the decision to do something different with their lives.”
Since many of the women WOW works with are mothers, the group helps children and families move their lives forward together. The organization’s annual Back to School Backpack Scavenger Hunt is another way to help the community while teaching team-building skills. Children at the event are tasked with fun riddles to decipher in exchange for backpacks and other necessary school supplies.
“We’re showing children that you’ve got to work for what you want,” says Secily. “This is our way to show the kids that things aren’t handed to you.”
The WOW Legacy Group offers other resources, too. During the group’s Blended Family Forum, life coaches and family-law attorneys help women navigate their new normal with loving and respectful tactics. Meanwhile, the Fall into Fabulous 5K, produced in partnership with Florida Hospital, promotes health and wellness.
“We want to demonstrate that you’ve got to keep moving, put one foot in front of the other,” says Secily. “Get to that finish line!”
For the organization’s success, Secily credits corporate sponsors like Macy’s, Sam’s Club, Goodwill Industries, Massey Services, and Walmart as well as the Lake Buena Vista Rotary Club and Dr. Ravi Lall of Lake Mary Dental.
And let’s not forget WOW’s dedicated volunteers and friends.
“It’s those friends who say, ‘You’re better than this,’” says Secily. “Wipe those tears and let’s get going!”
To learn how you can help support women in crisis, visit WOWLegacyGroup.org.
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