Marsha McWilson

Contributed Photo

Marsha McWilson plays the role of “Marsha Poppins” in local classrooms by taking a few cues from Mary Poppins. 

Marsha McWilson, a Niagara Falls singer songwriter, has taken on a new role lately. She calls herself “Marsha Poppins,” because she has created a character who is a bit like the fictional nanny, Mary Poppins, only McWilson puts her own unique spin on the presentation.

Over the past year, McWilson has been working as a motivational speaker for children in some Niagara Falls schools, where she often comes in dressed as characters like the English nanny or as “Madea” from the Tyler Perry movies.

She teaches the children a little bit about manners, hygiene and about listening to their parents, but most importantly, she says, she teaches them that their dreams can come true.

This week, she took a few minutes to chat about her new role.

QUESTION: How did you get into this new role working with children?

ANSWER: I developed this concept when Stephanie Cowart, the former director of the Niagara Falls Housing Authority, gave me the opportunity to teach at the after school program at Lasalle Middle School in a program run by the housing authority. I started noticing some of the things the children needed to learn, including a lot of things I grew up learning that they hadn’t yet learned. They did not have manners, they did not have etiquette, they did not have communication skills. I developed some lessons on those things and as I taught, I made it fun. By making it fun, I became a hit overnight.

Q: What are some of the things you teach?

A: The first “Mrs. Marsha Life Lesson” was about hygiene. I made up a fictional character. I let them know where she hides. She hides behind our ears, she hides in our belly button, she hides between our toes and in our mouth between our teeth. She likes to hide in damp, tight, sweaty places. She will embarrass us in front of our friends, she will snitch on us if we do not get rid of her. That’s how I explain to them about cleanliness. I’m writing a children’s book about that character and I’m doing a rap song about her too.

Q: So, you consider yourself a bit like Mary Poppins?

A: Yes, I’m literally the 2019 version of Mary Poppins in America. I want to be brightness and sunshine. I want to be in pink and bright colors to let every one know Mrs. Marsha is here to save the day. You know how Mary Poppins comes in and fixes things. I’m teaching kids how to fix things, like how not to react with anger, how to redirect anger and how to be kind. I teach them how to ghost their enemy. When you act like they’re not there, like they’re a ghost, guess what, they go away. I teach them how to handle things. I show them a different spin on things and it works.

Q: This is a whole new business for you?

A: Yes, I am a New York State certified woman minority business. That’s huge. That allows me to contract with the school systems. I’m looking to go worldwide. I have so much to give.

Q: What kinds of impact do you hope to have on the children?

A: I teach them to dream. I give them dream beans. I found these blue candies and I took them to the kids and said, “These are magic dream beans. I want you to say your dream out loud, envision yourself as what you want to be and what you want to do. Inside the bean is chocolate fertilizer. I want you to plant it down in your belly. Everyday that you believe that you can achieve and that you can make your dream come true, it grows and before you know it you are living your dreams.

Q: Do you tell them how you made your own dreams come true?

A: I explain to them I was an overweight child and that I had problems. I share with them that I was bullied and how, because I was obese, no one would play with me. I tell them that I didn’t give up. I kept striving, and now I am here today after I was picked by Tyler Perry to be an actress in his movie and appeared in a movie that is on right now on Netflix called “First Impressions,” and how I’m a recording artist who has sung in several countries around the world. I tell them to shake my hand, you just touched my dream and when I share that with them, their minds are blown. What I’m giving them is a sense of hope and I’m getting them to start dreaming.

For more information on Marsha McWilson and Mrs. Marsha’s Life Lessons, visit online at www.MarshaMcWilson.com