At Buckner International, we are committed to providing support to families to chase goals and learn their worth. Through the Buckner Family Pathways™ program, generations are transformed and single parents in crisis are empowered to change the trajectory of their family’s future. Participants receive encouragement, counseling, financial and parenting classes and more to overcome barriers that prevent self-sufficiency.
Today, we want to share the story of Kayla, a single mom and Family Pathways graduate. Through the program, Kayla learned her value and how to set boundaries for herself and for her children. She is a more confident mother and friend.
Kayla shares the journey of her childhood
I never experienced a loving family growing up and I was afraid before I had my kids I wouldn't really know how to love because I had not learned that as a child, but that was not the case. My kids are my everything and I love them with everything in me.
I can remember my mom loved me at one point. She cuddled me, took me on walks, brushed my hair and read me books. My father came in one day and exploded while she was rocking me and yelled that I didn't need to be babied and threw things. After that event, I have no memories of my mom paying attention to me in that way.
My father was never really a father. He rarely spoke to me or even said my name. He was always mad, always yelling and hitting things. He was always making my mother cry. My father was a controlling man. He had my mom change her name from the name she was born with to a name he picked out. From birth until I was 5 years old, I knew my mom as Suzette. From then on, she was Marsha. He had my mother disown her family because he believed they were bad influences and only ever told her she should leave.
I never saw my grandparents, cousins, aunts or uncles after 5 years old. My father took away my mom’s driving privileges, and she no longer kept in touch with anyone at all or left the house. My sisters and I, no longer having any outside family or any social life outside of home and one another, cherished getting on that school bus and going to school. When I was in sixth grade, we were pulled out of school. We became prisoners of that double wide with no way out, not even allowed to play outside for my father's fear that my mother's family would drive by and see us playing outside.
At 16 years old, I left home with a bag packed and left, knowing that homelessness was most likely my option, but that was the only way I could ever leave.
Finding her footing
Before connecting with Buckner, I kept people at a distance. I found myself questioning my every move and whatever I would say. I had little to no confidence when speaking to others as I felt awkward. I didn’t have experience with people outside of my sisters and mom.
I've had friendships and relationships that never seemed to go well and so with each failed relationship/friendship, I would close myself off even more and only focus on the love that my kids bring me.
I felt like I kept finding myself right back in chaotic situations, but believed the more I stayed to myself, the less I would get into negative situations. I see now that this was not healthy, and I was desperate for an outlet.
A redemption story
If I had never had the blessing of becoming a part of Family Pathways, I feel that my life would’ve continued to spiral downhill. I am held accountable here to finish everything I start, and I value that so much. I was given a second chance and strive to make those around me proud.
The staff at Family Pathways have become my lifelines for the past two years. Before, I had no one to encourage and lift me up through hurtful situations. After graduating, I am more confident and feel worthy.
While I may look like a broken mom with only my kids around me, I know now what I can accomplish.