“We were homeless and staying at the COTS shelter, when I decided I needed to do something. My kids had been through a housefire, my son was being bullied, one daughter had experienced the death of her father, and another daughter was abused by a family member. I knew I had to get help and to make sure my children were OK.”

This wasn’t the first time Kiyuanna struggled with trauma. She experienced abuse and neglect as a child herself and was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder. “A lot of things my children were going through were things I experienced too. Most other people wouldn’t understand how to deal with these kinds of things.”

Kiyuanna didn’t want to be around other people because she felt like her kids’ mental disabilities were an issue. The shelter told her about The Children’s Center, which ended up being a lifesaver. She found critical support and a supportive community. “I was able to meet more parents that have kids like mine. I started not to feel so alone and I came out of my shell. This enabled my kids to start coming out of their shells too.”

“Because of The Children’s Center, my kids have grown so much,” she says. “My 10-year-old read her first book last week. She’s so excited about reading and that was something I could not get her excited about by myself. I’m thrilled to see my children grow in a way that I couldn’t provide on my own. “

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