ECO Center for Women benefits from one woman's birthday

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When Letha Taylor turns 44 this Sunday, she’s going to celebrate by giving back.

It’s been this way for Taylor, a well-known figure behind the scenes of Charlotte’s urban entertainment scene, for the last three years.

While most folks make their birthday about themselves, she makes it about people in need. She finds a charity and organizes an event to benefit that organization. This year, she’s helping the ECO Center for Women, which offers employment and family support opportunities proven to reduce recidivism such as encouraging educational opportunities, creating a community support system, providing opportunities to grow spiritually, and assisting with issues of transition back into the family.

Executive director Myra Clark said the center is a re-entry center for women who are in prison.

“The women there are near the end of their state prison sentence," she said. "They go out and work in the community, they have time where they can reintegrate with their families. Some of them are going to school. It’s a program that helps them make the transition from being incarcerated back to their home and their community."

Taylor wants to give these women something extra as she celebrates her birthday.

“What I’m doing for them is supplying each woman with a phone card, a book of stamps and some other toiletries and items that they need,” Taylor said. “I will go over there and provide them a brunch. There are different catering companies and restaurants providing food. I have some people who will be doing mini manicures and mini facials.”

Taylor said deciding to give back on her birthday was an easy decision because it’s a wonderful way to celebrate another year.

“It feels good and it doesn’t take a lot of money and time to put it together. You just find an organization and set up and provide an event for them on your birthday,” she said.

Clark said Taylor’s birthday celebration comes at the right time because non-profit organizations are often the last to recover after an economic downturn.

While Sunday’s event at the Eco Center For Women isn’t open to the public, if you want to make a donation to the center, which needs women’s hats, gloves, coats,  toiletry items and other things, call the center at 704-494-0001 to set up a time to drop off.

“We need some bookcases, because we have a learning center and we need to be able to put our bookcase up so we can get our books set up. We need some chairs for our conference room,” Clark said.

For more information about the center, log on to www.centerforcommunitytransitions.org

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