When it comes to giving back to the Lake Travis community, Alison Watters proves you don’t have to be from Texas to live local and give locally. This Los Angeles transplant hit the ground running when she and her family moved to Lakeway in 2014, and she hasn’t slowed down for a minute. She might sit down for an early-morning cup of coffee, but maybe not …
If Ali looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen her smiling face at CC4C (Cheyanna’s Champions 4 Children) fun runs at Hill Country Galleria or perhaps at Lakeway Elementary fundraisers a few years ago. Whether she’s running a registration table in tennis shoes or an evening gown, Ali’s mantra is gratitude makes us joyful.
In the spirit of the holiday season, we’d like to share Ali’s story of philanthropy, because it serves as a reminder that charity starts in the heart. We all have life experiences that shape who we are today. For Ali, she knew a long time ago that helping people was just part of her DNA.
Ali describes herself as “fiercely empathetic to others,” which is why she finds volunteering so fulfilling. If you dig deeper into her background, it becomes more clear as to why she works with organizations like CC4C and Texas Advocacy Project — the connective thread resonates.
When Ali was a teenager, she got very sick only to discover she had a rare medical condition called Steven-Johnsons Syndrome. The illness nearly killed her. She was hospitalized for weeks in the Philippines and lost 20 pounds.
Ali explains, “It forever made me realize how depressing and isolating illness and hospitalization can be. Anything I can do to help families in that situation means the world to me because I’ve been there too.”
In 2015, when Ali met Talaya Frazier, the founder of CC4C, she immediately knew it was an organization she wanted to support. Talaya founded CC4C to help families with rare and undiagnosed medical conditions. Plus, CC4C is very active in the Lake Travis area, so that made it even more meaningful.
Over the years, Ali has served CC4C in various capacities from Program Director for the Micro Marathon at Hill Country Galleria in 2015 to the Live Auction Chair for CC4C’s annual Night to Uplift. Today, Ali is still an active volunteer who serves on the Leadership Team and as the Social Media Chair for local events.
Another non-profit Ali is passionate about is the Texas Advocacy Project, an organization dedicated to preventing domestic abuse throughout Texas by providing free legal services, access to the justice system and education. Ali started volunteering for the Texas Advocacy Project in 2014 after a friend introduced her to it knowing Ali would feel an immediate connection.
When Ali was in middle school, one of her closest friends lived in an abusive home. Ali reflects saying, “It was horrifying and devastating. Everyone deserves to live a life in hope, not fear. I cannot stress the importance of a healthy relationship enough to my own children.”
Ali has served as Co-Chair and Social Media Chair multiple times for the organization’s annual and most significant fundraiser, The Black & White Ball. This year, they raised even more money than ever before. “It’s been exciting to watch our fundraising records get broken — and to work with such a passionate, dynamic team,” Ali says.
Plus, many of the women who volunteer and the amazing professionals who donate their legal services to The Project live in the Lake Travis area. Even though the organization serves the great state of Texas, it still feels like a tight-knit community effort.
When she’s not busy volunteering, spending time with her family — Tim, Mason (13) and Jack (12) — or cooking, she’s writing. Ali is a contributing writer for Lake Travis Sports Magazine, which she views as yet another way to engage with the LT community.
Ali laughs, “As a mom, I selfishly love to be able to learn what LT families are doing to raise such extraordinary humans. I keep hoping that some of that magic will rub off on me.”
Are you looking for a way to give back this holiday season? Check out Texas Advocacy Project’s ‘Hope for the Holidays’ initiative.
Images: Headshot from Kerri Lohmeier