By| Daria Laycock
Talethia Edwards has been called to service, that is why she feels the need to clean up the Bond neighborhood.
As president of the Greater Bond Neighborhood Association, she is attempting to do just that.
She does so through community involvement. In addition to being the Greater Bond Neighborhood Association president Edwards is also a member of the Tallahassee Lenders Consortium, Early Childhood Development Consortium and Title One Advisory Council.
These are only a few of her many accomplishments and titles.
Her involvement may make it seem as though she has lofty goals for the notorious community.
To understand why she does it one must understand what she fights for and what she fights against.
Edwards is raising a family of seven of children ranging from three to 12 years old. Her children attend the neighborhood schools and play in the streets of the Bond community.
They are her motivation.
One of her latest undertakings, the Leap for Literacy campaign, comes close to home as it involves her children’s school.
Astonished by the low literacy rate at Bond Elementary school Edwards established the week-long celebration of literacy in an attempt to right the wrong.
Through her efforts, she has raised funds to give cash bonuses to students who met their reading goal.
The event was the success according to Vice Principal Terri Martin.
“The students loved the energetic activity and were thrilled to receive the cash,” Martin said. “We are grateful to Mrs. Edwards for her energy and dedication to Bond Elementary and the Bond Community.”
She can see how the environment is impacting her children. One particular instance sticks with her.
One day as she was driving down Saxon street with her children a woman, she suspected to be a prostitute, flashed her car. She and her children were shocked.
She considered letting it go but ultimately could not. She got out of the car and confronted the woman.
“Ma’am, do what you got to do, but don’t do it on my street,” She told the woman. “I’m trying to raise my children here.”
The woman apologized. Edwards never saw the woman on Saxon street again.
Sometimes community influence takes place just outside her home. There was a rental property across the street from Edwards’ home with a high turnover rate.
She suspected nothing of the home until a homeless man tipped her off that the house was being used to sell drugs.
Though the home was shut down, she can see the neighborhood’s impact on her kids. Recently her son was disciplined at school for being aggressive towards another student. Edwards did not teach her children to behave in this manner and believes this behavior is a response to encountering violence in the community.
These are the kinds of things that encourage Edwards to keep her kids occupied outside of the neighborhood with sports and other activities.
While it may seem as though Edwards’ life is all work one must consider that she has a social life too. She has friends and a husband who depend on her company.
Many times having a good relationship with her husband requires Edwards to work on the quality of her life as a wife.
This is key in maintaining balance in her relationship with her husband Harold Edwards, a school teacher, and a man who she has been married to for over a decade.
They do this by setting aside time just for the two of them on weekends and putting their children to bed early on weekdays.
Her friends also demand portions of her time as well. Edwards’ best friend and sister in law Anita Edwards can attest to this fact.
The two first hit it off when Edwards gave birth to her eldest son. Anita says that Talethia has always dedicated herself to the service of others. Even she has trouble understanding how her friend does it all.
“She is constantly doing something to help someone else,” she explained. “She gives cancer patients rides to doctor’s appointments, she’ll give young mothers diapers and wipes. I’ve literally seen her fill up some body’s fridge.”
In all this attention to others, she still has time to try local cuisine and travel with her friends and family. Mainly, the two “just enjoy each other’s company” Anita said.
With all her advocacy for others, she sometimes needs to advocate for herself. In times of high stress, Edwards has to make time to take care of herself.
” I have to force myself to do things for myself,” Edwards said, laughing at the thought. “I literally say ‘I’m going do this for myself’ and then I disconnect from everything else and do it.”
When she has a moment to herself she enjoys reading and writing. Edwards scrapbooks and journals. She likes to read old classics.
To keep everything in check Edwards keeps a calendar of all she is expected to do. When it comes to taking on her next task it’s all about filling a need.
When considering which task to tackle next Edwards said “ I always like to do bigger and better things. I try to see what the community needs and serve that need.” “I try to see what was done prior and determine how to do more.”
As much as Edwards does in the community, many still wonder, why?
The answer is simple; “It seems never-ending, the need is never ending for sure, But I’ve been called to do this work, Edwards said. “I get frustrated, I do want to quit sometimes but my passion is to help people in general, and that keeps me going.”
Photo By| Tallahassee Woman Magazine