TLC Center invites community to Friday celebration

Published 2:08 pm Friday, February 17, 2023

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By Angela Cutrer
Elizabethton Star
The TLC Community Center plans a fun-filled day Friday in celebration of its 23rd anniversary. Events begin at 11:30 a.m. and continue until 6:30 p.m.
“We’d like to say ‘thank you’ to our community,” Founder and Director Angie Odom said. “We couldn’t do any of the things we do without the support of the tri-city communities and we want to celebrate with them. We want to show off what can be done by working together without support of government funds.”
The main focus of the celebration will be the center’s ability to assist clients with local families with 44 private adoptions. “We are not an agency,” Odom stressed. “We don’t take money. We have been blessed to be able to help thousands of families and babies who have come through our center.”
Odom said the birth stories have been exciting in that they welcome a new life into the world, while others have brought grief. “We help with both mothers and children,” she added. “Our biggest concern is to love them both equally and serve them as best we can.”
That includes all different types of clients. The center helps pregnant women with the support they need, both before birth and after, and even after enduring a loss of a pregnancy or having had an abortion.
“We have women who had scheduled abortions who decided to choose life instead, and we help them in whatever they need,” Odom said. “We are also a place for a woman who has undergone abortion who needs a place to be understood so that she might heal mentally and physically.”
Odom said the center is also a place for those dealing with grief from the death of a child, those escaping domestic violence and those fighting drug addictions. The center also serves families impacted by crime, including murder, and those reeling from the suicide of a loved one.
Those are all the sad side of what the center aids, Odom said. The flip side are the inspirational things that occur.
She tells the story of one young woman who had discovered she was pregnant, even though she was on birth control. She underwent a chemical abortion and later became so ill she thought she might die. “Three and a-half months after the chemical abortion, she got sick and that’s when she found out she was actually still pregnant,” Odom explained. The woman gave birth right before Christmas and Odom said the new mother told her, “I can’t imagine not having him,” as she gazed at her newborn son’s face.
“That child was conceived while the mother was getting the birth control shot and survived a chemical abortion,” Odom said. “I told her no matter what you chose to do, God knew this child was meant to be born. It was so emotional.
“The experiences here with the center are happy, challenging, sad and sometimes our hearts just break. But we do all we can for those who need us.”
That includes children with issues at home. “There are a million kids out there who have needs, but the government can’t remove [all of] them [from a home that has become unsuitable], and that’s where we can step in,” she said. “We have provided beds for children, clothes and even just cleaning a house for a mother who is depressed and cannot function. You do what you have to do to help. That’s just it. That’s the way it is.”
Odom said the center’s commitment to the community is not by just sitting behind a desk dispensing service to those in need. It takes a workforce to get things done. That’s where volunteers come in.
“We want to honor our volunteers during this celebration as well,” Odom said. “Whether it’s emotional, physical or spiritual, our volunteers – who tend to be older – run circles around everyone else. They help the young volunteers learn how to make decisions, how to be of help and how to truly be a part of this family, because we are a family. Our ministry is also to help young people learn about volunteerism and our older volunteers are the best teachers.”
The celebration will include videos, tours, food and refreshments, photo presentations and good conversation.
The TLC Community Center is located at 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd., Suites 5-7, in Elizabethton.

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