Life has a funny way of working out differently than we thought it would and Talethia Edwards is no stranger to the curveballs life can throw at us. However, she also has learned that gifts and new perspectives can come through the challenges, if you learn to roll with the punches and make the most out of life’s surprises.
A graduate of Florida A&M University, Talethia had dreams of “making a difference,” with plans to go to law school before becoming the first-ever female African-American Supreme Court Justice. However, plans have a way of shifting, and “making a difference” is often not what we expected it to be. “My husband always wanted a lot of children,” Talethia said of the first amendment to her life’s plan. Law school was put off when she married her husband and began her journey becoming the mother of seven children, all born within nine years of each other.
When Talethia and her husband moved into a home on Tallahassee’s south side, within weeks, Talethia said, they noticed things that made them uncomfortable with their home’s location. While she was able to see the community’s elementary school from her front yard, she decided to drive her children out of the school zone to attend a different school. Talethia wasn’t comfortable with her children going to the school where they lived, because of the amount of crime and dangerous behavior that she was witnessing in the Bond community.
Regardless of her concerns, Talethia was active in her new community, serving on the Smith-Williams Advisory Board. After attending the Neighborhood Leadership Academy, hosted by the city of Tallahassee, she found herself being approached about the area’s need for a leader. Talethia decided that she needed to be a part of the solution to her neighborhood’s problems, and after much prayer, she asked herself, “If I don’t do something, who will?” That question led her to the decision to take on the leadership role in her area—building a neighborhood association from scratch, naming it the Greater Bond Neighborhood Association and focusing on “bringing unity and cohesiveness back” to the area. A part of that can be seen in the motto she created for the area: “Building a Greater Community Together.”