It was a beautiful June day in 1974. I was 12 years old, and I
still remember it so clearly. Having just graduated from the
sixth grade, my friends and I were busy planning our summer
vacation and preparing to enter Junior High. There was much to
anticipate, a new school, new teachers and new friends. Then
suddenly, my world was turned upside down. My life was forever
changed the day my 15 year old sister Gale finally had enough and
decided to turn my parents in for physical child abuse.
Gale’s plan was to save us by running far enough away so we could
safely call the police. We ran to a gas station and called the
Sheriff’s Department. Gale insisted that, if they took us back to
that “hellhole”, our home, we would run away forever! Instead,
the sheriff took us to the Children’s Receiving Home, and that’s
when my life began to really change for the better.
The memory of that day remains strong; you never forget fear like
that. I can still feel it in the pit of my stomach, like it just
happened. My reaction to her news was, “Oh God, Dad’s going to
kill us if he finds out.” Gale had just ‘gotten it’ from
Dad…that’s what we called it when one of us was beaten. It was
a living hell as long as his explosive rages would last. Once
again, this ordeal ended with Gale battered and bruised. My mom
could not, or would not, help us when his temper spilled over
into physical abuse.
We began our summer at CRH. For the first time in our lives we
felt truly safe. We played with other kids who had similar home
problems, and the staff helped us feel accepted and secure. Most
importantly, we were living without fear and just having fun as
kids again. Staff counselors were there to help us talk about our
As our CRH stay was ending, staff helped us make plans to live
with a foster family. With fall approaching, I remember thinking
again about Junior High, and how all my plans had vanished. The
only thing I knew for certain was that my home and family were
Our stay at the Home lasted 30 days. Then we went to court to
find out what would happen next. My most frightening memory was
knowing I would face my parents again. I was torn and confused. I
still loved my parents but I wasn’t sure if I would be beaten
again. Would they be mad?
I didn’t realize that my Dad’s temper was wrong. I thought his
behavior was normal. All I knew for certain was if I misbehaved,
I would ‘get it’ and I assumed that all kids got the same type of
punishment. My goal was always to be a good little girl to avoid
I share this story with you now because I now know that the
Children’s Receiving Home saved my life. As I reflect on that
traumatic time, I realize it was through CRH where comfort
replaced fear and gentleness replaced violence.
My life is great today, I have a beautiful family, a successful
Real Estate business and I served on the CRH Board of Directors.
I am proud to say I’m the first former resident to have done so.
As a parent myself, I know the joys and stresses that come with
parenthood. It is during those stressful moments that I thank God
for the gifts I received from my experiences at CRH and foster
care. With their help, I was able to break the cycle of abuse,
make a better life for myself and equally as important, my
I am only one of thousands of youngsters whose lives were saved
by CRH. In our community, there are still too many children who
are being physically, sexually, and mentally abused or
I hope and pray that every abused child will find a safe haven at
CRH. I invite you to join me in making a difference in a child’s