The stories we hear every day at The Children’s Center are harrowing stories of neglect, abuse, and trauma. They are stories no one would ever want to face. But they are also stories of hope. Stories of courage, resilience, and renewal. LaTina tells her very personal story, and how The Children’s Center helped her cope, heal and restore her belief in herself again:
“My mom had been sexually abused by her father as a girl. She told my dad about it after they were married. Years later, my dad picked me up from my grandfather’s house one afternoon. When he pulled into the driveway, he saw me sitting on my grandfather’s lap, and something snapped.
He drove me home to my mom, and left again. The next thing I remember is the phone ringing, and my mom nearly falling down the stairs crying.
My dad had shot my grandfather to death. My dad went to prison. We moved in with my grandmother. Fourteen uncles and cousins already lived there. One or more of them would pull me aside every night to sexually molest me, beginning in kindergarten.
They said if I told, I’d be in trouble. I was silenced by their threats, and my shame.
You know, when you’re abused like that for so long, you kind of go numb and give up. I dropped out of school in the fifth grade. I never had a prom. I never graduated. I made a lot of poor choices after that.
I have seven children. My youngest, Tanajah, is 9. She’s a bright light. She’s sweet, creative and caring. But she has behaviors that are difficult to handle. She’s been diagnosed with ADHD, mood and anxiety disorders. She can literally worry herself sick. She can lose control, and start screaming, crying, trying to hurt herself. My biggest fear for Tanajah is that the things that happened to me, will happen to her.
Recently, I’ve taken custody of my 3 year-old granddaughter, Joy. My older daughter was trying to move Joy into an abandoned home. No electricity, or plumbing. And Joy was behaving in ways that made me worry that bad things might be happening to her.
With the help of The Children’s Center, we got Child Protective Services involved. I don’t want Tanajah or Joy living in fear, feeling alone or ashamed, suffering, or being put in danger.
That’s why I bring them to The Children’s Center. The staff helps them, and has taught me how to help them too.
They’ve also helped me find MY voice, and my worth. I won’t be silenced when it comes to these girls.
The Children’s Center is helping me do that by encouraging me to get my GED and enroll in college. I want to be proud of myself and I want my kids to be proud of me too.
As they say at The Children’s Center, “No one can go back and make a brand-new start, but anyone can start now and make a brand new ending.”