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BY [Asia JOHNSON]

W

hen Paris Proctor graduated from the School of Business and Industry in 2013, she could have easily set her sights on corporate America. After all, she did have a 3.95 GPA and several offers for significant positions at companies such as Ford Motor Company. But months earlier, she abruptly lost someone who meant the world to her. Proctor could’ve remained heartbroken. Instead, she turned her pain into purpose and created the organization A Touch of Heart, Inc., offering a piece of hers to the ones that need it most. Growing up, Proctor’s aunt Pamela Mougin had been a confidant to her. Seven months shy of what was supposed to be one of the happiest moments of the then student’s life, Pamela took her own life over what Proctor deemed a broken heart. The recent graduate struggled coming to terms with the loss and contemplated how someone in perfect health on the outside could be dealing with so much internally. In a move that shocked others, she decided to turn down employment with a Fortune 500 company, become an ordained minister and create a nonprofit organization aimed at touching the lives of others through outreach. It’s what her creative artist aunt would have wanted. “Who would have known how God could redeem such a loss and use it to lift me into my future?” Proctor said. “I decided to follow my own dreams.” Proctor’s business sense and spiritual faith intersected to build an outlet that has benefited people across several nations, including the United States, Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria, as well as the upcoming opportunity to spend the summer in Mozambique, Africa. A Touch of Heart is a faith-based organization called to mentor, develop, and equip those that hunger to serve in different capacities locally, nationally, and abroad. “My organization is a bridge for people to give and receive,” Proctor said. “It connects a multicultural and multigenerational world with numerous opportunities to touch the lives of others. While physical needs still need to be met, the needs of the heart are a lot of times far greater and cry out even louder.” All those who come in contact with the cheerful nonprofit founder seem to be completely enamored with her. Kristy Davenport, a FAMU alumna and volunteer, counts Proctor as a “blessing in her life” and applauded her humility, grace, and sincerity. “I am very grateful for the relationship that we have built,” Davenport said. “Paris is a beautiful person inside and out. Her efforts show how much she truly cares about people.” Last August, Proctor assisted in organizing the Stop Hunger Now Meal-Packaging Event in her hometown of Indianapolis, Ind. The group fundraised for and packaged 10,000 meals that were distributed to the LeSEA Global: Feed the Hungry’s daily feeding program for impoverished children in seven schools throughout the greater Kampala area of Uganda. Most recently, through a partnership with Keichun Graves and

Socks4Souls Inc., A Touch of Heart helped plan the Seventh Annual Thanksgiving to Give Donation Drive. With the participation of more than 50 volunteers from the Los Angeles community, Proctor and Graves led three ardent teams that spent Thanksgiving morning in the Skid Row community. Skid Row is home to the largest homeless population in America. According to Proctor, there were more than 300 pairs of socks, 20 bags full of donations and hygiene essentials provided. Graves, Proctor’s cousin, said that Proctor was always a humanitarian; however, her experience with loss was so astounding that it lit a fire in her. “I couldn’t have done it without Paris’s heart,” Graves said about the success of their joint venture. “She gave intangibles when the tangibles were depleted.” Graves explained that Proctor is gifted with the ability to be a light that shines on others even in their darkest hours. One of those examples of light is a special connection Proctor shared with a little girl in the Gypsy community that she visited in Kazanlak, Bulgaria. For Proctor, the experience left a lasting impression. “This little girl and I were together the entire time and I learned how to say hello and beautiful in her language. I just kept saying that to them over and over and at the end of the trip, the little girl turned to me, took off her princess watch, and gave it to me. I thought it was so special!” Proctor said. “For her to not have a lot, but to give something from her heart was so beautiful. That moment showed me that we have the ability to build heart-to-heart connections wherever we go,” she said. To sum up her work, Proctor humbly stated, “In the words of my ministry teacher: ‘I don’t work for love, I work from love.’”

A&M MAGAZINE // SPRING 2016 // 41

Profile for FAMU Communications

Spring 2016 A&M Magazine  

In this issue of A&M Magazine we tell the story of FAMU’s rich tradition of empowerment. Our cover story, “Planting Hope,” chronicles the...

Spring 2016 A&M Magazine  

In this issue of A&M Magazine we tell the story of FAMU’s rich tradition of empowerment. Our cover story, “Planting Hope,” chronicles the...