Lakisha's New World

I was 15 years old, living in southern West Virginia. My mother didn’t care for me and my siblings. She didn’t pay the bills and didn’t’ feed us. I got mixed up with the neighbor, who was in his mid-30s. He bought me food and gave me a place to sleep. He became my “boyfriend.” My mom’s boyfriend and mine got into a fight. I decided to call child protective services, thinking they would help me. It turned my life upside down.

Child protective services removed me and my 16-year-old sister from the house. I first lived with my older sister, Tina. Tina allowed me to do whatever I wanted. I had no rules or structure. That’s when I became pregnant by the “boyfriend.” Once the pregnancy was discovered, I was removed from Tina’s home and put into a foster home. I decided to run away. Pregnant, I jumped out the window to get away. I then moved from place to place. I even left the state. I didn’t know where I was sleeping day to day, and I didn’t know when the next meal would come.

March 2, 1999…I was at a hotel in Bluefield, VA with the “boyfriend.” State Police came knocking on the door and took me, ending my run. Police took me to meet with WV State Police. That’s when I was taken to Crittenton.

I was angry and wanted to run away. Within a few days, I decided I was going to run again. Mylene, a Crittenton employee, walked with me every step as I walked away from the facility. She talked me out of leaving.

A few days later, I went into labor and had the baby, a little girl. It was then that I realized that I needed to stay. I had to do what was best for my child. I began to work with staff and talk with my therapist. Staff was very supportive. I knew then that everything was going to be okay.

I went onto college, majoring in nursing, something Crittenton made me realize I could accomplish.

And my baby…she’s a beautiful 15-year-old now. She knows the story…. I am happily married and have four other children. I now stay at home with them.

Without Crittenton and its staff, I wouldn’t be alive today. Thank you to all of the staff. They are my angels….

Lakisha, 2013