Mrs. Marian Idell Watson
Founder and CEO
My name is Idell Watson – I had many wonderful years of marriage to the love of my life, Wesley J. Watson we were married in 1976. Our years together were filled with fun, travel, hosting & entertaining, family, and friends – all the things I still love to do. To our union we proudly have seven wonderful children, beautiful grand and great grandchildren. I have the world’s greatest mother, one brother, two sisters, and a host of nieces and nephews.
During my junior year at DeVilbiss High School, I became a Candy Striper. This was my first introduction to helping others, a passion that would continue through my life.
I proudly graduated with honors from The University of Toledo with an Associate degree in Applied Business and Computer Network Administration. My professional experience has included being a skilled production worker and an office clerk. I was the union representative for several years working on contracts and also working to solve conflicts between employee and employer. I love my church Mt Zion where I serve, I taught adult women Sunday School for many years, I’m a part of the Women’s Ministry, and currently I serve as a leader of the New Discipleship Ministry.
My heart has always been compassionate towards others, especially women. Much of my life has been centered around helping others in need. It still is what I do today.
Several years ago I received a vision to be a leader of women. At that time, I did not totally understand the full meaning of this vision, but after experiencing the loss of my dear husband Wesley in 2014, that vision became quite clear.
Before that, I had always done whatever I could for women who needed my help financially, emotionally, and physically. When my husband of 38 years became ill, I dedicated myself to taking care of him.
After Wesley’s passing, more women and widows gravitated toward me in need of friendship, conversation, support, and advice. In the very midst of helping these women, I realized that I, too, was struggling, but I felt like I was struggling alone. I needed someone, a friend who could relate and understand, to support me through the emotional pain of losing my husband.
After searching the Internet, I realized that I could not find a local Toledo-based group where widows could come together to encourage and support each other as they dealt with feeling lost and alone. It was then that my vision became clearer: empower widows to get a fresh start.
“W.E.S. & I” is my vision coming to life – a support network that mentors other widows while providing a platform for them to socialize, volunteer, develop, and share their gift. It is also a resource for new widows providing housekeeping, shopping, childcare and transportation to doctor’s appointments when needed. We are also hoping to raise awareness of the social, health, and physical trials facing our widows.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Ramel Burns was born in Toledo, Ohio where she attended Lincoln Elementary and Robinson Junior High School. In 1962 her family moved to Davenport, Iowa where she attended Central High School and graduated in 1966, then moved back to Toledo where she attended 2 years at the University of Toledo.
Ramel started working through a temp agency for Owens Corning Fiberglass in 1969 where she worked in various positions such as, Mailroom Clerk and Supervisor, Accounts Payable Clerk, Personal Secretary, Cashier/Check Distribution Clerk. Due to a terrible car accident in August of 1984, she was retired on disability in February of 1985.
She currently attends City of Zion, the Mt. Zion church where she takes part in various ministries. Loving to cook, especially baked goods, Ramel also enjoys writing poems, as well as creating verses and cards.
Ramel is currently a Board member for W.E.S. & I, Inc. and enjoys being part of an organization whose goal is to be supportive and helpful to women who are widows.
Even though Ramel has had plenty of family losses in her life, through it all her focus is to always show love, be encouraging, helpful, uplifting and of service to anyone that is in need; letting them know that she cares.
Aronda M. Thomas
Aronda Thomas is a woman of many gifts and talents, with a special interest in helping children and women. For many years she served in the ministry of youth development within her church, helping to mold and shape the lives of young people. She has also participated in the women’s ministry, both at her home church and through the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, International (FGBCF, Int’l), State of Ohio. She’s volunteered time and talent: serving on the women’s council, assisting in organizing programs to benefit women and utilizing 30+ years of marketing experience and skills to help promote women’s, youth and church events and programs.
Other than her faith, nothing is more important to Aronda than family. She and her husband, Pastor Talmadge J. Thomas, have four beautiful children. Her familial love encompasses more than immediate family and reaches extended family, church family and community too. In her spare time, she enjoys watching mystery shows, documentaries and news programs, going to movies, writing, reading nonfiction and traveling.
As an active member of the City of Zion, Mt. Zion Church, Aronda Thomas supports the ministry and vision of her pastor and husband. Her leadership roles at “the City” have included oversight and management of a major community outreach effort—the Imani (faith) Festival, participation in the women’s ministry, and serving as team leader and teacher within the Ministry of Youth Development. Aronda was also instrumental in re-organizing the youth ushers’ ministry.
In her current position as a marketing specialist at ProMedica, a regional healthcare system in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, Aronda leads marketing and promotional campaigns for the orthopaedic service line and orthopaedic surgeons. She also leads numerous marketing initiatives around women’s health, including midwifery, maternal-fetal medicine, high risk pregnancies, and other medical concerns for women.
Aronda previously held marketing positions within Bank One (currently Chase Bank) and National City Bank in Columbus, Ohio, Educational Community Alliance Credit Union (former TPS Credit Union) and Bowling Green State University.
Aronda earned her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelor of Science in Communications degrees, graduating with honors, from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. It is there that she joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service organization, more than 30 years ago.
In addition to currently serving on the board of trustees for W.E.S. & I, Inc., Aronda serves as vice president of the board of trustees of Philio, Inc., dba New Concepts. She regularly volunteers time and talent to Toledo Early College High School, via the Parent Teacher Organization.
Laurie Sanders was born in Toledo Ohio. She attended Ella P, Stewart Elementary school and E.L Bowsher High School achieving her degree in 1984. Laurie decided to further her education, at age 40, at Owens Community College. There, she studied Social Work. After two years she transferred to the University of Toledo where she completed her practicum requirements for the Bachelor of Social Work degree in 1990.
She interned at the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, and The Area Office on Aging. This was a pivotal transition for her college career because it afforded her the opportunity to put her newfound knowledge to use. Laurie has worked various jobs in her lifetime, but there are a few that were dear to her heart and most rewarding. For several years she operated a county certified Home Daycare License by Job and Family Services. Ms. Sanders has been a back-up Foster Parent for the Lucas County Children Services. Also, she has worked as an Advocate for Cherry Street Mission’s women shelter. And more recently, worked as a service Care Provider for Friends for Life Residential Care.
Laurie currently attends City of Zion the Mt. Zion Church where she teaches Children and Youth Church, and has taught at Bible Boot Camp. She prioritizes instilling support and education in youth. Laurie enjoys spending time with her family and close friends, reading a good book, but most of all utilizing her gift of Help.
Although Laurie is not a widow, she enjoys being a part of W.E.S. & I, Inc. providing love and support, and has dedicated herself to working hard organizing events and fundraisers that will help fulfill the mission and vision of the organization.