A Dynamic Duo!

Mother-daughter duo Dr. Shelia Payton and Bethani Payton-Thomas are dedicated AWF volunteers. Dr. Payton, a board certified Chiropractic Physician and founder of Wellspring Health and Wellness, was a member of the inaugural Inspire Atlanta class in 2018. Through her mother’s involvement with AWF, Bethani also became a volunteer and they’ve both been active and avid AWF supporters ever since. Bethani is a junior at Decatur High School and after graduating intends to pursue a career in medicine. Shelia and Bethani took time this month to share why they give their time as volunteers and what drew them to AWF.

Why do you like to volunteer?

Bethani: It all started when my parents and I moved back to America from England to take care of my great-grandmother (nana). My mom always taught me that service is what we do as humans, servicing our fellow man/women. When I was younger, I didn’t really grasp the concept of her statement, but now that I’m older I understand. Volunteering with AWF and other organizations associated with them makes me feel like I am doing the work of humanity; it makes me feel empowered, strong, and so many more adjectives and closer to my mom.

Shelia: Serving has been a part of my life ever since I believe I can remember. I grew up in a family where caring for grandmothers and grandfathers was commonplace, the thing that you do just like brushing your teeth in the morning when you wake. I was raised by a mother who professed every Sunday coming from church that “service is what you do” and so that is what we did. I like to believe volunteering was born out of who I am, a servant.

Why AWF?

Bethani: I would hear my mom talk about an organization that she had become involved with. Over what seemed to be an eternity, she told me she would like me to accompany her on one of the organization’s events. I was amazed to see so many women of different cultures and ethnicities in one room. I was hooked. From stuffing envelopes to volunteering with my mom’s Inspired Run race, to being a math tutor for one of AWF’s grantee partners, I enjoy every minute of it.

Shelia: I am the sort of person who will make a commitment to any type of relationship only after observing. I am an avid runner. One of my dear run-buddies was an employee at The Atlanta Women’s Foundation. I would hear her talk often about AWF and how great the group of ladies running this organization were. Over a couple of years, I listened, and when there was an opportunity to volunteer I did. The Numbers Too Big To Ignore Luncheon, which featured Madeline Albright, was my initiation. I was blown away and ready to sign up that day. I had no clue that Inspire Atlanta would be my next initiation into AWF, but I am so grateful that it was.

What is one of your best experiences or memories with AWF?

Bethani: One of my most memorable times at AWF is when I helped set up the event space for the 2018 Numbers Too Big To Ignore Luncheon. I watched hundreds prepare a room for thousands of people while dancing, snacking and singing, all while focused on raising money for women and children in poverty.

Shelia: The Inspired Run. After The Inspire Atlanta class of 2018 was underway, and we realized our responsibilities, my go to event was a group run. I was overcome with inspiration and gratefulness. The kindness shown to me by all, the partnering of run-buddies, family members, business partners, and the community, completely floored and humbled me. I knew that day I was no not only a servant, but a philanthropist.


  1. Tammy on June 24, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Love it to tears!!!…it is something when you know how amazing your sister and niece are, but when others recognize the same…woohoo!! Serving is just something we do. So proud of you and Bethani!!

  2. Mickauna Love-Tinker on June 24, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Hats off to our beloved Shelia & Bethani! I love working with the both of you! Thank you for blessing AWF with your legacy of kindness & service!

  3. Lanada Chanel on June 24, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    Beautiful interview. What a great experience to have with your daughter. Making an impact together 💖

  4. Rev. Velma E. Grant on June 24, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Well done Dr. Sheila and Bethani. Peace!

  5. Rosalind Alderman Little on June 25, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    So often people talk the talk but rarely walk the walk, that’s never the case with you. You’re a powerful role model and a dedicated parent. Bethani will reap the benefits of all the love and values that you’ve poured into her. She’s smart, beautiful and chip off of the ol’block.
    Love you both!

  6. Altricia Payton-Black on June 29, 2020 at 1:56 am

    So proud of you Dr. Shelia T. And Bethani. Keep up the good work.

  7. Reance' on June 30, 2020 at 9:29 pm

    I am so proud of you both. You never cease to inspire and amaze.

  8. Earnestine Payton on January 17, 2022 at 5:49 pm

    Awesome philanthropy, inspiring & mentoring youth in the process. I am blown away & super proud of both my nieces. Great job Mom because service is what you do.

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