In the early days of the pandemic in 2020, TCC alumna Rickkita Riddick flew to Hollywood to appear on the Ellen Show.
Not only did she get to meet Ellen DeGeneres, the star of the show, but she also received $10,000 for her family and another $10,000 for the charity she founded and now leads, Sisters Healing Sisters.
“Meeting Ellen and being in the room with all of that energy was an amazing experience,” said Rickkita, who graduated with an Associate of Science in Business Administration in 2013.
After the Ellen Show, Rickkita returned to Hampton Roads and purchased food and other items that she freely distributed to many low-income residents during the holidays. She launched emergency shelters. She also enrolled at Norfolk State University and is scheduled to receive a bachelor’s degree in social work in the spring of 2023.
“I’m so grateful for the many opportunities I’ve received, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without my start at TCC,” Rickkita said.
Rickkita was recently named the Student of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers, Virginia chapter. “I was nominated by my dean and just so surprised. It motivates me to continue serving women, children and families in need,” she said.
Taylor credits then TCC academic advisor Donna Richardson with motivating her to stay the course. “I almost dropped out of school in 2013 and she encouraged me to finish what I started. She told me that I could do it even with the odds stacked against me,” she added. “She inspired me throughout my three years at TCC and beyond. It was because of her that I came back to college in 2020 to pursue my degree at Norfolk State. She continues to push me to be great.”
Rickkita continues to serve women and families. She started a non-profit coalition with six charities called, “Feed the City.” The group finds food deserts throughout Hampton Roads and has fed thousands in the area since it launched in December 2020.
The mom of two hopes to open transitional homes for women and families after graduating from NSU.
“We’re going to start with one home that can house four families facing homelessness, domestic violence or job loss. It’s our goal to partner with women so they can turn their lives around,” she said.
The idea to launch Sisters Healing Sisters happened when Rickkita was a work-study student at TCC.
“I never would have imagined back then that I’d be here today, but I know I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to do,” she said. “My work is very satisfying and it never ends. There are always going to be people in need and we’re going to be here to help.”