Behind the Wings: Making a difference in the Queen City and beyond
Growing up, Charlotte (CLT) Gate Agent MonaLisa Metellus, recalls how her parents and church members would load up her father’s van with her traditional Haitian cuisine and spend time serving it to the homeless every week. Since those early moments, volunteering became her passion and the foundation for her to create a non-profit organization to help those in need. MonaLisa started “The Metellus Foundation” in 2020 with a goal to build healthier communities through education, community development and partnership.
“Everywhere I go, I see people in need,” said MonaLisa. “When the COVID pandemic began in early 2020, I started feeding the homeless in Charlotte from my car. I saw that it was not just the poor who were hungry, but also the working poor. Some of the people I fed lived in their cars and were still going to work every day. Food is a basic need and people should never go hungry. As long as I have, I want to keep giving.”
MonaLisa says it wasn’t easy pursuing her dream of running her own non-profit but the calling was always in the back of her mind. “Starting a non-profit during a pandemic and other tension was a challenge but gave me something I am passion about to work on,” said MonaLisa. “Since the start of the pandemic, I have seen so much change in the needs of the community and it means a lot to be able to meet that need.”
MonaLisa began reaching out to like-minded individuals in her community and met other people with her same passion. She partners regularly with other organizations such as “Poor No More” and “One Heart Ministries” to expand her giving reach.
In addition to providing street hunger outreach, MonaLisa also supports visionaries wanting to begin or strengthen their non-profit, and hopes to launch a five-week YouthWorks program that provides job readiness training and job placement to youth ages 16 to 19.
In 2012, MonaLisa joined the Piedmont team in Philadelphia (PHL) as a shuttle bus driver to get her foot in the door within the aviation industry. She soon transferred to the Team Member Services department and later moved to Charlotte in 2018 where she works as a part-time gate agent. “Working for the airline and having non-rev benefits allows me the opportunity to visit other places and serve other communities, in addition to the Charlotte area.”
Through The Metellus Foundation, she has helped fellow co-workers in need and has co-workers that support her cause. “It is a privilege to connect work and passion and working at Piedmont allows me to do that,” said MonaLisa. Her future vision includes expanding her giving reach and making a difference internationally.
Behind the Wings is a Piedmont feature that highlights the accomplishments of the aviation professionals who make us Piedmont Proud inside and outside the airport. In honor of Black History Month, Piedmont is proud to recognize our team members and their contributions to the success of the airline and making a difference in their communities.