BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Patricia Norwood comes from a family known for giving back. As a finalist in Nexstar’s Remarkable Women series, Norwood is recognized for her daily commitment to ensuring the community has access to free resources intended to aid personal growth.
“After my brother passed,” said Norwood. “I wanted to do something in keeping his legacy going, in serving our community.”
Norwood’s brother Leon Harrell, was a prominent attorney in Baton Rouge. Having graduated from Southern University Law Center, Norwood recalled Harrell’s commitment to helping others.
“As an attorney, he worked with a lot of people in the community. He helped the ones that needed help that couldn’t afford to pay for an attorney.”
It was in Harrell’s acts of kindness that Norwood saw her own reflection. Along with the help of another brother (Lenore), she began hosting free computer training classes in 2010. They received a grant from the Louisiana Workforce Commission and Norwood ultimately saw how the need for community classes was greater than originally thought.
“When you do one thing, you find out that you’re bigger and there is so much more in you that God has for you to do,” said Norwood. Her nonprofit, Mirror of Grace, was formalized in 2011.
Today, Mirror of Grace provides a variety of free classes including parenting courses and re-entry programs.
“We go to the prison,” said Norwood, “and then when they get out, they come and contact us if they need any other court order services.”
Mirror of Grace also teams up with community partners to host annual holiday events and programs for children.
“In 2013, we started our first summer youth camp which is a week-long program for children that are unable to, the parents aren’t financially able to send them to camp,” said Norwood.
Norwood completed her doctorate in 2020 and is a licensed Christian therapist. She is also an ordained minister.
Mirror of Grace is located at 921 Lobdell Blvd in the Harrell Building, which was originally purchased by her late brother and now bears the family name — after her late brother.
“A lot of times I’m behind the camera and doing what I do, and I put everybody else first,” said Norwood. “So this right now being acknowledged as a remarkable woman is like, ‘Wow, look at God,’ because I always stay behind the scene, and to be a front is totally new for me, so I just enjoy the service.”