The Tammy Lynn Center Turns 50
Nonprofit celebrates five decades of helping North Carolina families
Photo courtesy of TLC
Earlier this year, the Tammy Lynn Center, a nonprofit operating under the mission of empowering individuals of all abilities to learn, live and grow to their fullest potential, celebrated its 50th anniversary. What began as a grassroots effort in the late 1960s now goes by the name of TLC and supports hundreds of North Carolina families each year.
For all of the growth, President and CEO Holly Richard says TLC’s mission remains simple and is informed by the early experiences of the nonprofit’s three founding families: the Moores, Tuckers and Pierces. Each family had children with intellectual disabilities and medical complexities, and they were all frustrated with the lack of support and opportunities for their children.
“Back in 1969, there weren’t any services for children with disabilities, or their families,” Richard says. “Kids were placed in institutions and didn’t have access to public school education.”
These families envisioned a better life for their children — and all children with disabilities. So they founded the Tammy Lynn Memorial Fund in honor of the Pierces’ daughter. Then they started a mother’s-morning-out program. As the organization grew, they moved to their current, 9-acre campus on Chappell Drive in Raleigh.
Serving Infants to Seniors
TLC’s services have expanded to include a group home for children with significant medical needs. Instead of being sent away to institutions, these young residents live in a loving environment with full-time nursing support. Parents can visit as often as they like.
TLC currently provides services to 400 North Carolina families each year, which includes four group homes in the Raleigh and Wilmington areas. Group homes serve adults who have intellectual disabilities but don’t require intensive medical assistance. TLC also offers periodic services to families, such as early prevention, respite and education for residents in pre-K through high school classes.
With all that TLC has accomplished, Richard says there’s still much to be done. The nonprofit is continually advocating for improved funding of services and support for families of children with disabilities, as well as for those who care for them. The organization is also expanding services in New Hannover County and adapting services to meet changing needs, such as the increasing number children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in North Carolina.
“There are roughly 40,000 children in North Carolina with an autism diagnosis,” Richard says. “It’s unacceptable that families haven’t had access to therapy because it isn’t covered with insurance.”
TLC has lobbied for insurers to cover autism services. The nonprofit’s Applied Behavioral Analysis program also offers critical therapy and support for children with autism, and is just another example of how TLC has met the needs of the community for five decades.
2019 Raleigh Hall of Fame
Richard says TLC’s success comes from a group effort. “We have a dedicated team of 200 people on staff, a board with a strategic vision, a supportive local community and a state legislature that continues to advocate for us,” she says. “We’re very fortunate, which is why the 50th anniversary is such a big deal.”
TLC’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. In October, the nonprofit will be inducted into the 2019 Raleigh Hall of Fame.
“The Raleigh Hall of Fame is proud to recognize the Tammy Lynn Center,” says Chairman P. Mark Blake. “This organization has made such a difference in the lives of its patients, families and citizens of Raleigh.”
Want to Get Involved?
For more information about TLC’s services and how you can help out, visit nctlc.org.
Christa Hogan is a local writer and mom of three.