Alumni Story

Finally Safe

Hi, my name is Jennifer Green. I was a resident of the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home from 1985 -1986. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was a pivotal changing point in my life. My story begins at the age of five. My father was an alcoholic, and while he was drunk, he would use me as a punching bag, while my mother stood by and did nothing. The abuse started as physical beatings, and eventually became emotional and mental as I grew older. I lived in constant fear and was in survival mode all of the time.

Most days, the only meal I received was the free hot lunch I got at school and the occasional meal at my grandparents’ home. You’ve may have heard the phrase “I’ll spank you so hard, you won’t be able to sit down for a week”…I actually experienced that first hand on more than one occasion. My parents were skillful in covering up the abuse with my father threatening me on what would happen if I ever told anybody, and my mother making sure the bruises on my arms, legs and back were covered up. In a drunken rage, on two separate occasions (age seven and again at age thirteen); my father was almost successful in taking my life. In the first attempt, he almost decapitated my head with an ax while I was pinned to the wall, and in the second attempt he held a knife to my throat in my darkened bedroom with a pillow over my face in an attempt to smother me. In both cases, my mother managed to get him to stop before it was too late. 

On the day I showed up to the Children’s Receiving Home. I had spent the entire previous night being kept up all night, with my father punching me with his fists and hitting me with his belt.  He told me (as he done so many times before) that I wouldn’t amount to anything that I was stupid and nobody would ever want me. Because I was late to school, my mother wrote a note explaining that we “had a family discussion”.  I went to school in my pajamas, changed into some old gym clothes that were in my locker, and put on make- up to hid the swelling (a routine I was all too familiar with), but it didn’t work because I was sent me to the principal’s office, and I lost it.  I was then sent to the Children’s Receiving Home and was very scared and sure that my father might get in and make sure he finished the job because now, everybody knew.

The staff at CRH were kind to me, and they provided the first real structure in my childhood.  I eventually felt reassured that my father wasn’t going to be able to hurt me anymore.  I still gave the staff a run for their money though; I was defiant, scared, confused, and angry, and I didn’t care about myself or the world.  Despite my attitude the staff cared about me and eventually I could see they did impact my life in a positive way.  I left the Children’s Receiving Home for a more permanent placement, where I ultimately emancipated out of the system at the age of eighteen. 

Today, I am a very busy mother of two beautiful boys and wife to my husband Steve. My oldest is graduating high school in May 2013, and my youngest is in the sixth grade. Both keep me busy with sports, scouting, and their various other activities.  I also work full time as a successful Financial Consultant for a major firm. To this day, I credit CRH as a key beginning on my road to leading the successful life I have today.