Let’s start this story at the end.
When Annette Chavez leaves Buckner Family Pathways® in Longview, Texas, later this year, she’ll drive away with both an associate and bachelor’s degree, a job, her two children, and plenty of furniture. She is the very definition of success for a program that last year saw a 94% success rate among all eight Pathways locations combined.
As she drives away from the Buckner campus for the last time as a “client,” she’ll also leave with some things you can’t pack into boxes.
Hope. Strength. Determination. Change. Courage. Her new-found faith in Jesus.
Wherever she ends up, the journey is sure to be easier than the one that brought her to Buckner.
She has spent her entire life up to now looking for hope – in all the wrong places. And now that she’s found it, she’s determined to hold it tightly.
If that’s the end of this story, where does it start?
As a child, she bounced between family members. She was sexually abused by family members, joined a gang at 11, got pregnant, and saw the child’s father, her fiancé, killed.
“We were probably about 10 minutes from home and I was on the sidewalk pushing my son (Shawn) in his stroller. Joe was pushing the grocery cart next to me. We were talking and then he wasn’t there anymore. I turned around and there were sparks all over the place. When I turned back to ask if he’d seen the sparks, he wasn’t there. His body rolled off the car and in the next few minutes, he died in my arms.”
Two months later, Shawn was diagnosed with a terminal illness and died at age 13.
“Life without him tormented me,” she said. She has three other children, and it was while Annette was at Children’s Hospital in Dallas with one of those children she met someone who told her about Buckner and Family Pathways.
“My chains have been broken here,” she shared, with that determined look on her face. “I’ve been saved and baptized. I go to church and that’s the number one thing in my life. I do believe in God. I do believe in hope. I do believe in myself and my children.
“Buckner provided a completely different life, a completely different answer, strength in a different way,” she added. “I didn’t have to depend on myself anymore. I had a family. I feel like a normal human now. Buckner has been a helping hand. It has been an open door that doesn’t exist for many people. For my kids, that is the chain-breaker. Buckner has been our saving grace.”
We're excited to share with you all the ways you can shine hope to vulnerable children and families around the world. We invite you to stay connected with us while also growing in your own faith.
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