Everybody’s Favorite Twins, Sherry and Cherry Wilmore, are a force to be reckoned with. They are social media influencers who have a story that has led them to be advocates for the foster care system and to be conversation starters in the community. Growing up in foster care, the local twins learned lifelong lessons. It was their experiences that led them to launch the annual Laptops of Love initiative.
Laptops of Love is an initiative where the twins give laptops to high school graduates in the foster care system. They partner with owner Philip Y.S. Wu, BS, MBA at Great Southern Computers in Houma. They felt they needed to partner with someone local and have gained a great alliance with the local business. For just $600 per laptop, Woo sets up the computers with all the software needed to be successful, and he also repairs the laptops free of charge for the lifetime of the computer.
The 2021 Laptop for Love ceremony was held Thursday. The initiative gave laptops to 15 graduates this year. Six of them were given at the ceremony, and the others will be given at a later date. Some of the graduates have already left the area to go to college, and others have been placed elsewhere. But the twins said they will, of course, still receive the laptops to help with their future endeavors.
At the ceremony, Sherry and Cherry gave inspirational words to six local recipients. They spoke about their experiences growing up in foster care, even sharing a specific story where a psychologist told them at eight years old their predetermined future, including “she told us we were a danger to society and we should be institutionalized for the rest of our lives. We were eight.”
They also described their experience when graduating high school and aging out of the foster care system. The story puts feet to faith, and is the reason behind the passion of Laptops of Love, “All in one week, we graduated high school and became 18 years old. The next Monday, we sat in Thibodaux DCFS conference room discharging us from foster care with a check and no options. Luckily for us, our social worker’s supervisor drove us to Nicholls to register us for college.”
They shared that their foster mom allowed them to live with her until the first day of college. They were in New Orleans for the weekend that next week where Volunteers of America were giving every foster child in the state a desktop computer. At the time, Sherry and Cherry were the only foster children enrolled to attend college, so they were given laptops instead.
“Those laptops took us through college,” Sherry said. ”When we graduated, we were the first children to successfully complete the foster care pilot YAP (Young Adult Program) in our region.” This is why they are passionate about giving laptops to another generation of foster youths. “We want the new generation to succeed in their next phase of life.” This story showcases perfectly the heart they have for empowering others and supporting the next generation.
At the ceremony, the twins gave words of encouragement to the students through their own experiences. They shared their journey and reminded them “the choices you make from this day on, it will dictate your life. You couldn’t make decisions when you were a minor; your parents or your guardians did But now you do. Our foster mom told us, ‘when you’re older, no one will care about your sad story.’ I know it sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. You can tell people your story, it’s beautiful, but after a while, someone is going to say what did you do with your life? So you have choices to make. The seeds you plant, you will produce. You plant good seeds, those flowers are going to come up. Goodness. Kindness. Love. Giving back. Being there. Thoughtfulness. Those things come,” Sherry said. She then went on to say if you plant, “ugliness, bitterness, resentment, those seeds come back. One thing I took from life is, I wanted to be everything people say I couldn’t do. I was supposed to be pregnant, I was supposed to have a lot of children, I was supposed to live in poverty, and I wasn’t supposed to graduate. I broke all those things.”
Sherry passionately advised them to “never let what people say or do to you negatively determine what you do with your life. They’re watching it, you’re living it. It’s yours. You be the best person you can be, and then you show everybody that thought negatively of you, wrong.” One of the students tearfully responded with, “that’s my dream.” This is the reason behind the passion.
The laptops are made possible through donations. Special thank you to the following donors that have made this year’s give-away possible: Toy’s Toys, C. Miles Photography, Community of Love, Beacon Light Baptist Church, Iberia Bank, Synergy Bank, Mr. and Mrs. Aucoin, Mr. and Mrs. Clune, Ms. Miller, Mr. White, and Mrs. Tyler.
There are still a couple of the laptops that are unpaid, so it is not too late to help with the cause. To donate, contact the twins via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Everybodyfavoritetwins or donate directly by clicking here. There are also other ways to help the area’s foster care children through local organizations such as Lifted by Love, CASA, MacDonnell Children’s Home, and Extended Foster Care.