It was Black Friday in November, and like many other holiday shoppers, Sharon A. Kidd-Lewis, was standing in line with hundreds of other people waiting to buy one of the latest electronic gadgets that was at the top of the lists of a lot of children.
Reaching the front of the line, one mother discovered she was $100 short. Her son’s face fell, and others shoppers began shouting, “Hurry up,” and “Move the line.”
The mother was pleading for payment plans and other alternatives, and Kidd-Lewis saw the tears welling up in the young boy’s eyes.
Without hesitation, she stepped up to the counter and gave $100 to the cashier. The mother and her son thanked her over and over and promised to pay her back. The benefactor only smiled and said, “Merry Christmas.”
This kind of selfless devotion to helping others is not unusual for Kidd-Lewis who is well known as an advocate for low-income youths and older inner city residents in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and San Francisco.
For many years, she has organized holiday giveaways including toys, clothing, bikes, and food. Through fundraising and her personal contributions, she has been able to award such services to communities.
As president of Girls Incorporated of West Contra Costa County, Kidd-Lewis has devoted much of her energies to mentoring youth, taking girls to empowering women’s seminars, sponsoring the young for scholarships and supporting academic programs offered by the agency.
A passionate volunteer, she also serves on several other boards including: BART’s Citizen Oversight Board, the Public Works Commission of Berkeley, the Afro-American Advisory Committee on Crime for Oakland and the Alameda County Advisory Commission on Aging (ACA). She also is the first African American woman to become a member of the historic Berkeley Breakfast Club.
At the recent 5th Annual Black History Celebration at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, Kidd-Lewis was recognized as one of “Our Community Diamonds” for her volunteer service and leadership role in the Oakland community.
A lifelong resident of Berkeley and a University of San Francisco graduate, she enjoys reading, writing and surrounding herself with interesting, eclectic people.