Willie and Candace Perkins are co-founders of Normnot Academy, a nonprofit offering youngsters in grades 6-12 leadership and character development workshops. Normnot also helps older teenagers address various life issues. The Perkinses have a blended family of seven children, ranging in age from 18 to 26.
Willie: We started Normnot in our living room just with our kids and their friends. There were themed questions from them. And we always talked about life. And so we realized, hey, we need to we guide them toward the leadership principles or values they could use.
Some things early on were, ‘What do we do when someone treats us bad?’ Bullying was huge at that time in their schools. So it was, ‘How do I deal with that? How do I approach that?’ We talked about that: ‘Here’s how you should approach it, how you should take care of it. And if it still persists, obviously, go through the lines of authority’ and things like that.
Candace: What we were hearing from our kids’ friends is a lot of these conversations weren’t happening at their homes for one reason or another. And we started helping their friends since we were having the conversations with our kids anyway.
I come from an at-risk household, and I was an at-risk youth. My parents weren’t answering these questions for me. Life happened, and I had to figure it out myself. And I always wished that I had someone who would have guided me in that way. And I look at my life today, and I could have very well been a statistic, but I’ve made choices for my life, to not become that. One of my motivations is helping other at-risk students with the guidance that I wanted to have when I was younger.
Willie: I’m the outreach pastor [at Renovation Church], connecting the community with the church, connecting God with the community. We’ve partnered with The Shepherd’s Heart [food pantry]. We just did our first spring festival, Springdom Come. We put on a free event for the community to come and get involved and connect with other community partners, like Southern Panthers [youth football team] and Waco Police Department and their new outreach division. It was awesome. That’s the type of outreach that we’re doing.
Candace: I’m the operations pastor [at Renovation]. I’m responsible for just making sure that the building has everything that it needs, from an infrastructure perspective. That we have all of the resources that are required to run the church.
The Drink: Willie and Candace like Cha Community because they are friends with owner Devin Li. “The boba tea is amazing,” Willie said. He ordered the Milky Way, with vanilla and cardamom Thai tea. Candace had Jasmine Milk Tea, which is green tea mixed with oat milk.