Shafika's parents divorced when she was an infant and eventually lived in abject poverty with her mother and two sisters. She became defiant and out of control. She was put in state custody. Once she had been in our program a while, she got her GED, joined the National Guard and became a nurse and mother.
Both John and Jacob started life as babies in a Russian orphanage with less-than-ideal living conditions. Like most children in similar institutions, the two babies were malnourished. Loving Owensboro families, one who was not able to bear children and one who felt a calling, adopted the children 17 years ago. Little did they know until the boys were older and good friends, they were both adopted from the same orphanage and brought into the Light.
Terry spent his childhood desperate for affection. He felt no love at home from his mother who was an alcoholic and drug addict. Surrounded by strange men his mother brought in their lives, Terry was mostly raising himself. Our counselors workedwith Terry to help him understand his past of abandonment and neglect. Terry is now 34-years-old, runs his own business and wants to provide his 10-year-old daughter the same love and support he received at KyUMH.
Nikki grew up in poverty with no mother. She faced domestic violence and sexual assault, and found escape as a teenager through drugs and alcohol. She became self-destructive and had suicidal thoughts. Her world was not safe. Nikki was introduced to Next Step by a social worker. The team worked with her to detox and got her involved in volunteering. Her energy and zest for life skyrocketed. She was introduced to a therapeutic equine program for individuals with disabilities. Nikki discovered a love of horses and helping people. Nikki, at age 14, is now giving back to others and working on a prestigious boarding school scholarship.
Growing up as an immigrant in America was difficult for Isaiah. His mom was left to raise a 2-week-old and 5-year-old in a strange land with no friends or family to help after Isaiah's dad passed away. His mother remarried shortly after, but despite a little more family stability at home, Isaiah was bullied and harassed in school.He became suicidal and expressed a desire to end his life. Isaiah participated in one of our community-based program and changed. He took on a job, excelled in school and even acquired a full-ride scholarship for college.
As a toddler, Penny knew all too well abandonment and pain. Penny experienced 20 different placements during her young life. Her journey led her to the Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children and Youth. Our therapists worked intensely with Penny to help her heal from her painful history and arrange good, solid foster parents to teach her what love and trust really mean.