Kathy D., age 17
Kathy’s parents were married when she and her sister was born, but were divorced by the time she was five years old. Her dad left, remarried and has rarely been part of her life.
Kathy and her sister lived with their mother, but it was a tumultuous and abusive home. Her mother used crystal methamphetamine and marijuana. She was physically abusive. When Kathy’s teachers saw her bruises, they reached out to the Arkansas Department of Human Services. DHS caseworkers determined that Kathy’s mother could not take care of her or her sister. Kathy was 10; her sister was six. They came to Vera Lloyd and stayed for 11 months while their mother completed a rehab program.
The sisters were reunited with their mother, but she didn’t stay clean. The girls moved to a foster home. Then, they lived with their aunt and uncle in Kentucky. Kathy returned to Vera Lloyd in 2014, knowing it would be a better place for her.
“I knew everybody here would be here for me. They always have been,” she said. “When I first got here, I was depressed, I had a bad attitude. I missed my family. Even then I thought being at Vera Lloyd was the best decision for me.”
When Kathy told her aunt she wanted to live at Vera Lloyd, her aunt bought her a plane ticket and terminated Kathy’s rights to speak to her sister.
Kathy earned A’s, B’s and C’s as a junior at Monticello High School. It helped that she worked with a tutor provided by Vera Lloyd to improve her math skills and prepare for the ACT. This year, she is a senior at Monticello High School.
She’s planning to attend the University of Arkansas at Monticello and major in early childhood education. Kathy’s mother is completing an eight-year prison sentence because of drug and hot check charges. She hopes to reunite with her mother once she is out of prison.
“Vera Lloyd has helped me come a long way. I used to throw objects, temper tantrums, I was disobedient,” she said. “Everything changed when Deverick became my house parent. He worked hard with me. He encouraged me to prove people wrong about me.”