Mata Crawford

by Terry Watson | July 16th, 2018
Mata Crawford (Photography by Howard Gaither)

Mata Crawford (Photography by Howard Gaither)

Greenville, South Carolina native Tabatha “Ma’ta” Crawford is a prime example of today’s multifaceted woman. She is a devoted mother, wife, daughter, sister, entrepreneur, and community advocate. She is an also a woman of faith and attends Kingdom Descendants Missionary Church and is a member of Long Branch Baptist Church and is an honorary member of White Plains Baptist. As a Christian believer and follower and servant of God, she desires for others to see God in her service to others, which is unquestionably her purpose in life. Crawford attended Greenville Technical College and received an Associate Degree in Human Services and Mental Health. She has received extensive training in Family and Marriage, Drug Counseling and Criminal Justice. She obtained under graduate studies at Limestone University and is a 2015 Graduate of NASHA Business Academy.

Crawford reaches the needs of her community by way of various avenues. One of these is Single Parents in Need (SPIN), a 501©3 organization she founded and has directed since 2014. Its goal is to serve residents of Greenville, S.C. Crawford has always opened her heart and home to those in need for more than 30 years. She understands the everyday challenges of being a single parent to well, as she raised three children, alone. “Many times, I felt that there was no one to reach out to that would understand the needs of our community. There weren’t many options available to teach those in need on how to better face and overcome challenges. SPIN was developed to support, encourage, assist, and educate single parents how to build stronger families by meeting their physical, mental, and spiritual needs and connect them to available resources,” she says. “SPIN gives me an opportunity to see the lives of others change and give them hope for a better tomorrow.” This includes seeing the looks on the faces of parents and their children when they walk into their new homes, or when they learn something at the Lifestylle seminars SPIN conducts.

Crawford also leads Position Changes Transitional Housing for Women, an organization that provides temporary housing and support to women. Her program also helps them to obtain gainful employment and connects them with resources to successfully transition to permanent housing. She has developed Queendomship, LLC in 2015 to combine different divisions owned and/or operated by herself and family. It offers employment opportunities to single parents and gives them work experience and an extra source of income. The different divisions include but are not limited to Mata’s Manna, which develops and produces all-natural hair and skin care products specializing in eczema and psoriasis, Just My Flow Accessories by MC, which brings unique and handcrafted African jewelry and accessories to today’s fashion world. There is also Aqueen’s Consulting Service which promotes, advises, and assists entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations with designing a business plan, filing for licenses, networking, and notary services for contracts and other legal documents.

Crawford believes God will not put any more on her plate than she can handle, and He will always make room for an increase. She embodies the spirit of other strong women she follows such as her mother, Nancy Bolden and lifelong mentors Betty Williams, Mary Brookman, Leola Robinson, and the late Lottie Gibson. “These women taught me how to stand through challenges, keep my head up and keep moving forward,” she said. Additionally, she has been encouraged by other female community pioneers and the support of her children and family.

Life for Crawford has come with its share of difficulties. She shares, “I found myself in the store with five dollars in my pocket and three children depending on me to feed them. Only having enough to buy bread, cheese, and tomato soup for supper, I made up my mind that somehow this would not continue to be the cycle of living for us. I didn’t want to continue a pattern of generational curses of drugs, poverty, economic challenges, food shortages, and substandard living. I knew that if I continued to be a victim, there would be no victory for my own children. I had to do more than finish high school, get a job, pay bills, and pray that my food stamps would be enough to feed us until the end of the month. I had to do something different to change things for my family.”

She began by furthering her education. She rode the public transit bus to Greenville Technical Community College every day (rain, sleet, or snow) and returned home late into the evening. She depended on her neighbors (her village) to help with watching her children. “The road was never easy but every time when I was just about to give up, I’d hear my grandmother’s voice saying, “keep God first and get your education. There is always somebody worse off than you. If you don’t do it then who do you expect to do it for you,” she says.

The advice Crawford gives to anyone who may follow her is not be afraid to step out on faith and be ready. Keep God first and allow Him to lead you to what He has for you. Her plans for moving forward is to expand Queendomship, LLC to own and operate self-sustaining companies. More importantly, she hopes to continue servicing her community as the director of SPIN-Single Parents in Need of Greenville, S.C. and focus on building strong families and communities.

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