Rita Whitaker: Changing the game by teaching at-risk women life skills

GameChangers 2022: Honoring people who are making a difference in communities of color
Rita Whitaker
Rita Whitaker Photo credit Courtesy of Rita Whitaker

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Rita Whitaker is the founder and director of Life Turning Point of Philadelphia, a faith-based life skills program for homeless women and children.

“[We help] homeless women with children, women that are at-risk pregnancy; if they lost their jobs or can’t afford to pay their rent or got pregnant and mom said ‘you can’t stay with me anymore.’ ”

Whitaker said they use the Bible to navigate their work.

“We teach what the Bible says about parenting, what the Bible says about finance, life skills, relationships — all aspects of life,” she said. “It just helps them to kind of see the practical side of the Bible, of what it has to say about their daily living.”

The women are taught life skills, which gives them a sense of responsibility and independence so they can manage life on their own.

“Since I’ve been in this line of work, the most that a woman has saved [through our program] was $12,000. I think that’s pretty awesome,” she added.

Whitaker left a lucrative job in corporate America because she felt a calling to serve.

“I quit my job. I sold my stuff. I got rid of my apartment and I moved into this facility as a missionary to serve women and children in Philadelphia,” she said.

“I just fell in love with it. I remember coming here and just falling in love with the moms and the kids. … God just put it in my heart that this is something I was supposed to do.”

During Black History Month, KYW Newsradio’s GameChangers honors 10 individuals or organizations that have made a significant, positive impact in communities of color in the greater Philadelphia region. KYW community affairs reporter Racquel Williams will host an evening honoring this year’s awardees on Feb. 24. View a full list of 2022 honorees below.