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Vanessa Williams offers guidance, wise words to Goodwill in Detroit

She knows a thing or two about being offered a second chance.

Singer-actress Vanessa Williams surprised students at the Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit’s Flip the Script program in advance of a concert to benefit the nonprofit training program.

Williams will perform a medley of her hits, including “Save the Best For Last,” “The Right Stuff” and “Colors of the Wind” at Motor City Casino tonight, but saved some sage advice for trainees in the program, who shared their hopes and ambitions during her visit.

“You know who you are and you will get a chance to prove it,” Williams told the classes. “Just wait, be patient and ask for it. God hears. You can talk to Him every day, but ask.”

Williams knows about having to prove herself, having weathered the storm of her 1984 Miss America controversy and re-inventing herself as an entertainment-industry force. As she frequently reminded reporters in attendance, she’s nearing 30 years since her debut album, 1988’s “The Right Stuff,” hit the charts. There are the movies -- "Soul Food," "Hoodlum," "Eraser," to name a few. And not to mention the TV shows -- "Desperate Housewives," "Ugly Betty," and her newest, "Daytime Divas," which debuts on VH1 next month.

“I first came to Detroit 20 years ago on tour with Luther Vandross,” she says, also noting that she spent time in the area as an NBA wife; her marriage to L.A. Laker Rick Fox meant many nights spent in and around the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Williams emphasized the importance of supporting organizations like Goodwill, which serves hundreds of individuals in Metro Detroit through Flip the Script. Flip the Script serves men and women referred to the program from the Michigan Department in Corrections and gives them a second chance through job training and mentorship.

“It’s one thing to hear about it, but it’s another to see the difference made in their lives,” Williams says. “I’m overwhelmed by the warmth I felt today.”

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