A woman with a vision
“Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”
For Angeline Green, this verse from Matthew 25:40 is the guide post of her life and the foundation of the Christian Love Community Development Center in Troy.
The mission of the Center is to positively affect the lives of children, youths, low to moderate in-come individuals, school dropouts, veterans, non-violent offenders, children of incarcerated parents or relatives and disabled individuals. The least of these.
Angeline Green knows what it means to be among the least of these. She was a crippled child.
“What caused me to be crippled, the doctors didn’t know,” Green said. “It came on me mysteriously. I was in Birmingham for three years with doctors trying to find what crippled me.”
During her third- and fourth-grade years in school, Angeline wore the “ugly black and white shoes” usually reserved for children afflicted with polio.
“I was a tiny person so, with the disability, even the clothes that were handed down to me from my siblings fell off me,” she said. “The other children would laugh and make fun of me. I was tongue tied and that made things even worse. The other children would pick on me and it hurt so bad. That’s where I learned compassion.”
One day, Green said she was playing, going around a big oak tree, just going around and around.
“I was saying, ‘I think I can; I think I can …’ and I kept saying it over and over, ‘I think I can,’” Green said. “I don’t know; nobody knew; but, just as mysteriously as the crippling came on me, it was gone.”
Green’s father died when she was 12 years old bringing her greater understanding of sadness and grief. She remembers, at a young age, writing a letter of sympathy to a friend at her loss.
Then, too soon, Green was married, too soon with a baby and a high school dropout.
“But I loved to read,” she said. “I grew up poor but I wanted to see things and experience things and books would take me there. I had a deep desire to go back to school so I got my GED and that opened new doors of opportunity for me but I wanted more. So, I went to college at Troy and got a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s in ministerial leadership.”
Green was actively involved in church ministry and often gave talks at women’s organization meetings.
“For our women’s meetings, we were having to rent rooms and bring in food when we had guest speakers,” she said. “Our prayers were for a building.”
One day, as Green was walking by the former school building on Segars Street, she heard the spirit of the Lord speak, saying “Buy the building.”
“What would I do with a school building!” Green said. “But the Lord spoke to me again with instructions to buy the building. I selected a scripture and read it as I walked around the building seven times and prayed.”
The former school building had been purchased by individuals who were willing to sell, even lease.
Green was able to lease the former school building. “But what do I need with a school? What do people do with school buildings?”
Green knew immediately. Teach. That’s what people do with school buildings. “And, that is what I will do.”
The building was soon a place for teaching of small children and a place where their other needs were magnified. Needs for food and clothing, for things.”
“We put ads in the newspaper and on the radio and people came,” Green said. “I remember standing in the hallway and looking and thinking that I didn’t know the needs were so great.”
Green said the Troy University basketball coach brought some of his players who took time with the children and helped bag and carry food and clothing. I saw the excitement on the children’s faces at a new pair of shoes and a warm jacket. Tears came in my eyes. ‘I see now, Lord. I see the big picture.’”
That was around 2007. Since that time, the Christian Love Community Development Center, a non-profit organization, has extended its services to offer after-school programs, tutoring, pre-school, pre-K, mentoring programs, Get Fit Kids Summer Camp, a Clothes Closet, a Food Pantry, a Community Youth Garden and Educational Chicken Houses.
“The Center is a blessing,” Green said. “We have a highly trained and caring staff. Our eyes are always open to those in need. We encourage others, ‘If you have two coats and see someone in need, give them one of yours. And, even if you have something that you think nobody wants, just know somebody needs it.”