I was put in to foster because I was raised by my father all my life, never really knew my mother. I was living with my grandmother halfway through elementary school. My father was never really around and I never had anyone to talk to, my grandmother was very strict at times. I never really had a childhood because of it.
I was always doing house chores and it was six of us in there. I never knew why my grandmother was like that to me. Most children enjoy fun and holidays. I never even knew what a Christmas was. My grandmother would have me up every holiday and make sure I was sleep before my father came home. So on holiday I would just cry and make myself believe that that was how life was supposed to be. My father never knew what was going on with me and I was too scared to open up to him. He was always gone.
I remember when I was 11 years old and I saw my father leaving; I would run to the window and cry for hours praying and hoping he would come back and get me. My grandmother would always call me bad names never by my real name. As the time went past I turn to the streets, looking for love and attention that I was not getting at home. So I started running away from home. Scared and alone and my father saw was me being grown. When he should have seen that I needed him there. So a couple days later he took me to DSS’s Howard Street location to put me in the system. He told them he wanted nothing to do with me anymore and they told him it’s a program where you can take your children for the weekend and then come back and get them, on Broadway St. It was a program to show kids that being home might be better. He took me and never even said goodbye. I stayed there for the whole weekend and when Sunday came he never came back to get me. I knew that the day he dropped me off he was not coming back. This is how I became a foster child. I was put in a lot of group homes. I graduate from high school in 2006.
I left foster care and was in a lot of shelters for seven years with my children. I am working with this program called Mercy housing that will help me with housing and they told me about MFYRC because I was homeless and I had transitioned out of foster care. MFYRC has helped me in a lot of ways. The staff here at MFYRC gave me a place to live, confidence and a renewed sense of hope. Anything I need, they have helped me and my kids with. I’m still in the program today.
“If you give up you will never make it, but if you push yourself to succeed you will always come out on top.”
PHOTO CREDIT: NICOLE MUNCHEL