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Rising Stars: Meet Tilly’s Life Center

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tilly’s Life Center.

Tilly’s Life Center (TLC) was born out of a long-held desire to give back to our community. Tillys, the national retail chain, has always been focused on philanthropy and began to notice a need for a program that teaches teens the power of positivity, emotional competency, and the ability to take responsibility for their own success. In 2012, Tilly’s Life Center was born. Teens are facing daily pressures like never before. From social pressure to academic demands, family issues to the pandemic — our adolescents have to deal with more now than ever before. 17% of teens have seriously considered suicide, 30% have reported feeling sad or hopeless for at least two weeks, and one in five has a diagnosable mental health condition. We are truly facing a crisis amongst our youth.

They are anxious, isolated, unable to cope, and afraid. This is why TLC takes a proactive and preventive approach to the growing social and emotional issues affecting teens today. The TLC program equips youth with the life skills and coping techniques they need to combat the staggering rates of suicide, anxiety, depression, bullying, school violence, substance abuse, and addiction. The “I Am Me” curriculum helps teens develop confidence, compassion, and the ability to make difficult decisions when they need it most. Through engaging lessons that include experiences, journal writing, and open discussions — TLC facilitators guide and mentor adolescents on topics that encourage stress reduction, self-esteem building, problem-solving, and communication skills.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We all know that 2020 as a whole was one of the biggest challenges to date. It affected all of us in many different ways — but the toll it took on adolescents was dramatic and often went overlooked in the public eye. Quarantine forced teens inside at a time when their social interaction plays an integral part of developing their identities. The increasing divisiveness in the country and widespread protests were also a big challenge for young people, who are often just trying to figure out what’s going on inside themselves before tackling the world around them. In an effort to continue to provide teens a service they so desperately need, TLC adapted our “on site” program to a highly interactive live virtual experience. Mental wellness has become crucial at this time, and TLC has met this need through providing teens quality online programming that builds sustainable, supportive relationships with TLC facilitators and peers.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Tilly’s Life Center (TLC) is a youth-focused, 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable foundation aimed at empowering all teens with a positive mindset and enabling them to effectively cope with crisis, adversity and tough decisions. Our mission is to inspire today’s youth to reach their full potential as productive, kind, happy, and responsible individuals.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
One incredible lesson we’ve all learned is in the power of positivity and hope to change a particular situation or at least our view of it. In our Social and Emotional Learning virtual workshops, we’ve always practiced forgiving and letting go of negative emotions so that our teens can develop optimism, self-love, and acceptance. In the face of one of the most challenging years in recent history — this message is even more essential.

Contact Info:

  • Email: monica@tillyslifecenter.or
  • Website:
  • Instagram: @tillyslifecenter
  • Facebook: @tillyslifecenter
  • Twitter: @TillyLC
  • Youtube: TillysLifeCenter

Image Credits
Personal Image: TLC students enjoy their virtual SEL classes and the ability to connect with peers & mentors. Additional Image: A TLC student writes the affirmation “I Am Important.”

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