Charlise Smith knows first-hand how trauma can affect a person. As a young child, Charlise’s mother, Willissae, was brutally murdered. As an adult, Charlise found herself once again the victim of severe trauma. On October 23, 2012, as a housing Regional manager, Charlise was stabbed five times by a severely distraught tenant who suffered from mental health issues while being evicted.
Although her physical wounds healed, Charlise had to face her emotional wounds that stemmed back to her childhood. She knew there had to be a path that would help her move from the traumatized fear toward a successful, progressive life. Charlise accepted the WAVE of hope that God sent her which led her back to serving the people and the communities that needed her the most by founding the organization named after her mother, Willissae’s Agency for Vision and Empowerment or WAVE.