By Cheryl Wilson
As told to Jenny Pope
When I was 17, I got pregnant and dropped out of high school. And to make things worse, I married him. It was a big mistake. He was a severe addict, alcoholic – and abusive. On the outside it looked like we had it pretty good. He worked and I was a stay-at-home mom, but I was totally trapped. I had no way out. I didn’t have anything. All I had was my faith in God. And I knew I needed to get out.
I told a friend and she had just heard about Buckner Family Place at her church and the program they had for single moms with Angelina College in Lufkin. I went ahead, by faith, and enrolled at college. I stayed persistent, calling Buckner every day, and finally I got accepted. It was the best news I had ever gotten. I moved in immediately, and it was beautiful. It was a place where I could feel safe and secure.
I was so broken when I came here, but through the staff and the counseling, that changed. Brenda Dunn (counselor at Family Place) was the first person I had ever known in my life who believed I could it. She believed I could do anything, and it started to rub off on me.
I graduated from Angelina College with an associate’s degree in criminal justice and left two weeks later to start a bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, with support from Buckner. After two years I graduated with a double bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology. And one week later, I got married.
My husband Caleb is the most wonderful man. He’s my brother’s best friend. And together we now have our third son, Jack.
If I hadn’t come to Family Place, my life wouldn’t be the same. It gave me the stability I needed and allowed me to become whole again. It empowered me to believe I was worth it; I could achieve my dream.
Caleb and I know that what we’ve been through, everything we’ve endured, has been orchestrated by God. He was with us the whole time, watching over us and has brought us to where we are today.
This program is exactly what a single mom is looking for – it’s like a dream. I want to be a part of helping another mom get where she needs to be, and that’s a big reason why I give back financially to support Family Place today. I want single moms to know that there is hope.
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