First Ellen, Then on to Norfolk State to Realize Her Dream

Rickkita Taylor on Ellen ShowYou might have seen her on the Ellen DeGeneres show Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, when Ellen surprised Rickkita Riddick with overwhelming support of the Virginia Beach woman’s nonprofit organization called Sisters Healing Sisters. At that time, Riddick herself had been furloughed from her job since March and, like many, was struggling financially through the pandemic.

And it wasn’t the first time Riddick struggled. After seeking out help before, and discovering how hard it was to find, she established Sisters Healing Sisters to help others looking for assistance. She describes Sisters Healing Sisters as a kind of clearing house that points others toward the assistance they need for their particular situation and challenge. In short, Riddick poured her experience from struggle into Sisters Healing Sisters so that others could find the assistance they need without the hassle and run-around that Riddick initially experienced. She calls Sisters Healing Sisters “a source of resources” because getting help shouldn’t be a challenge.

That’s when she caught Ellen’s attention and was invited to appear on the show. In fact, due to the pandemic, she was the only audience member attending in-person while all the others were virtual. And there was a reason for that.

Riddick was invited down to the stage with Ellen because, according to Ellen, she had “written some amazing letters to us” about her non-profit work. She told Ellen that Sisters Healing Sisters was “…created to empower, educate and elevate women through different resources, workshops and outreach.”

Ellen was impressed that Riddick was continuing to help others after being out of work for more than six months, even dipping into her savings to keep the work continuing during the pandemic. “People like you are just incredible to me,” Ellen said.

Then Ellen said she wanted to help. Rickkita Riddick and Sisters Healing Sisters both received $10,000 from Shutterfly because Ellen knew Riddick would continue to give financially to her non-profit, even during a time of struggle.

The publicity from that appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show helped the non-profit take off and that success helped Rickkita Riddick see her future and decide to become a social worker.

Riddick came to Norfolk State University majoring in social work and quickly made an impact. She became the NSU student representative to the National Association of Social Workers Virginia Chapter. She also serves on the NASWVA/Metro DC Advisory Board.

Just last December, in 2021, Riddick formed the “Feed the City” non-profit coalition to do drive-up socially distanced food assistance. She’s formed partnerships with the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office, United Healthcare, the Virginia Beach public schools, and the Family and Child Education (FACE) program.

Sisters Healing Sisters was named the 2019 ACHI Magazine Community Leader of the Year and then received the 2020 ICONIC Women of Hampton Roads Award. According to their website, at https://www.sistershealingsistersinc.org/, “Sisters Healing Sisters has fed hundreds of people in need, connected many clients to resources, sponsored a great amount of families, and helped to educate groups of learners on various subjects such as financial literacy, career readiness, mental health, and bullying.” They say, “There is still work in Hampton Roads and beyond to do, Sisters Healing Sisters will continue to do our part in completing the task.”

That’s probably why Rickkita Riddick is being recognized with the NASWVA’s Student of the Year Award at the annual NASWVA upcoming conference in March 2022.

Dr. Elizabeth Dungee-Anderson, Dean of NSU’s Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work, says “Rickkita is the type of ‘stand-out’ excelling student that helps bring recognition to the SWK program.”

Of course, Riddick sums it up best.

“My passion is for community development in the realm of macro social work. Coming to NSU and learning the core values and principles of the NASW quickly let me know I had chosen the right career path,” Riddick said. “In and outside of school, my own core values that align with the NASW principles and values of service, integrity, and social justice have helped me to excel in both areas.”

After making her locally famous appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Riddick said “Coming back to school to further my education to be able to serve my community better, invoke change, and learning how to be a better leader was the best decision.”

You can see Rickkita Riddick’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show at


Ellen Surprises Generous Single Mom

Visit the Sisters Healing Sisters website