Where it all began

PATRICIA WILKINS

“AUNTY PAT”


 

The story of BASICS International cannot be told… without going back to the start. 

BASICS is a faith based organization, because it was JUST that which motivated, inspired and sustained founder, Patricia Wilkins.  Ms Wilkins relied on the advice of her Pastor, Reverend Cecil B. Stone (Springfield Gardens United Methodist Church) whom advised her to lean on her own faith to answer the question “Does GOD really want me to do this?” Pastor Stone advised Pat “If this is of GOD, HE will open doors for you.

Pat received this advice one morning at 5:30, when she called Pastor Stone on the phone to make an appointment to discuss what she felt GOD was telling her to do.   Stone, invited Pat to come into the office right then, which she did. Pat recalls “babbling” on for an hour about how she had been praying and praying to find a way to HELP those less privileged full time, after spending her time (part time) on weekends, helping at welfare shelters, shelters for abused children and at hospitals.

Wanting more in life than producing fabric in NY, Pat searched for answers on how to sustain her high maintenance life, which included credit cards bills, car notes, rent, and frequent trips to the Caribbean or South of France. One morning awoken by what she thought was the voice of GOD telling her to, “Give it up”. Pat was not convinced that she was supposed to give up her lavish lifestyle.

After sharing her dilemma with her Pastor, he listened quietly and then answered, “If that is what GOD is telling you to do this, STEP out on FAITH and if doors open, then it is GOD.

Taking his advice, Pat did just that. Selling all of her belongings, including clothes, her BMW and even a $10,000 bedroom set she had just purchased impulsively.  She often jokes with friends, that this must be GOD, “because who would buy a bedroom set so expensive”.

Early 2000, she embarked on a mission trip to Pavlovsk, Russia. Here Pat worked with physically and mentally challenged children, under the auspices of the United Methodist Church Volunteer Mission program. There in Russia, she was now convinced and ready to dedicate her life to serving others.

Ready to take on more, Pat independently made plans to travel to Ghana, a country she knew very little about. On her arrival and being taken in by a local family, it was right away that she saw first hand, the tremendous needs of the children of Africa.  Wanting desperately to make a difference, Pat started sponsoring children to attend school out of her pocket and cashed in her retirement plan.

Friends and family inspired by her journey were eager to help and joined Pat in her quest to give the children of Africa, equal opportunity to be educated. BASICS was thence founded and continues to grow, with the Faith that first brought Pat to Ghana.

Pat was born on 2nd February 1965, in Brooklyn and raised in Queens County New York. She attended NYC public school, which included Fashion Industry High School.  She furthered her education at Queens Borough Community College and Fashion Institute of Technology.  Her career spans from working in New York’s illustrious fashion industry to serving as a legislative assistant for District Assemblyman Andrew Jenkins and as an assistant campaign coordinator for former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. She left a lucrative 17-year career in New York’s renowned fashion industry and turned her attention to social work and missionary projects.