By Tunya Griffin
Terrie Ann Williams Coplin, better known as Pastor TC, is in the business of enhancing and empowering the lives of young ladies.
TC, an experienced counselor and youth worker for over 19 years, has helped countless young ladies by instilling into them hope, confidence, courage and a realignment of dignity and integrity. As accomplished as her current life may appear; her life growing up was quite challenging, yet one that uniquely qualifies her to make such a profound impact on our teen girls today.
This past August, I sat down with TC to hear about her journey working with young ladies and how she started World of Girls, an organization dedicated to enhancing young women’s lives. As I arrived at the office for World of Girls at 651 Delaware Avenue, TC welcomed me, escorted me to her office, and offered me a seat. I could not help but stare at this poised, well-dressed, beautiful woman. Adorning the walls were newspaper articles, pictures, awards and various certificates from young ladies who are a part of her business. TC told me her story, how she was a Buffalo native and middle child of six sisters and one brother and how she had lived a “very risky life,” during her teenage years. In fact, during her teenage years she found herself expelled from junior high school, faced numerous suspensions due to fighting, was insubordinate towards teachers, became pregnant at the age of 14, smoked marijuana, wanted to start her own gang to help those who were being bullied by others, and also struggled academically. “I lived a very risky life, and even ran away from home on one occasion,” explained TC. “My mother threatened to place me in the East Ferry Detention Juvenile Prison at one point,” she continued. As a result of her behavior she was labeled by her family and society as an “at-risk teenage girl.” However this former at-risk teenage girl beat the odds in an extraordinary way.
At the age of 16, TC’s mother took her to a church called Holy Presence Church of God in Christ for a revival. It was there that her journey of change began. According to TC, “During the revival I decided to accept the invitation to allow Jesus to become Lord in my life.” It was there, under the leadership of her Pastor, Willie Woods Jr., with the encouragement of her father that her life, at the tender age of 17 began to take a very different turn. She began working toward a calling into full time ministry, starting with her appointment to a deaconess missionary, then a licensed evangelist, and a now licensed ordained minister.
At the age of 23, TC, following her passion in life, began working with young ladies to help them out of the life she was once a part of. “It’s all about the girls, I wanted to reach out and help. World of Girls is about empowering young ladies to take a leadership role in our communities,” TC explained. This leadership role includes everything from serving in their neighborhoods, communities, humanitarian services to senior citizens, blind associations, events, empowerment classes’ business development and more. TC explained, “World of Girls also provides assistance in helping support young ladies coming off the streets through financial stipends that allow them to get food and shelter; with a requirement of them attending a daily homeless recovery workshop. I take the young ladies to meetings with me so that they can learn and grow as individuals, overcoming those patterns that have kept them from achieving in life."
In 1987 she launched her first Debutante Pageant of Divinity, a pageant designed to enhance the lives of our young ladies 12-19 years of age. The pageant serves as an annual Gala event that helps to refine the talents, character development, poise, social graces, public speaking skills, community service, spiritual enrichment, a God consciousness and education for young ladies. In 1992, she started a Young Ladies Development and Character Building Workshop in Buffalo Public Schools. In 1993 she then expanded into a Young Ladies Leadership Conference followed in 2001 with a Young Ladies Sisters United Block Club Fellowship; in 2003 a Young Ladies Radio Show which is being heard on 1270 AM every Saturday at 1 p.m. and the list goes on. In 2006, she added a Counseling service for young ladies as part of the World of Girls Empowerment Center. The services that she offers cover three main categories: education, mental health, and emotional health. TC explained that her transparency about her own journey helps women open up about their own, “I am transparent. I share my own journey so that they know that I can relate, and they then feel safe to share their challenges. They can feel that I care for them; and I will not be judgmental,” she added. “In my counseling services they have the opportunity to be raw, right-to-the-point. They have autonomy with me. As a result, they are able to be themselves.”
Today this former at risk teenage girl, Terrie Ann Coplin, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Biblical studies from Houghton College; a Master’s Degree from Canisus College in Education/Counseling and Mental Health training, along with a Master’s Degree from Jacksonville Theological Seminary in Christian Counseling, and is presently preparing to obtain her PhD. at the University of Buffalo. She is the wife of Rev. Eugene Coplin Jr.; and together they have six children. Together they established Project L.E.E. Ministries “Attitude” Development Organization, where she is presently a community outreach Pastor for young ladies. Her husband also acknowledged the anointing of God upon her life to empower young ladies, and has been an inspiration for her in establishing the World of Girls Empowerment Center. In addition, her weekly spiritual enrichment comes from the MacAlpine Presbyterian Church, under the direction of Pastor Lee Clark and his wife Ms. Candice, located right in the heart of the Buffalo. As TC stated, “The information is out, the foundation has been laid in the urban area, and now our plan is to expand to the rural and suburban areas, this is not just an urban area empowerment, it is now extended into our rural, and suburban areas, it’s all about the world of girls.”