Krystal Prather-Harper, age 27, of Star City
From an early age, Krystal was a victim of physical and sexual abuse. After moving to Las Vegas from California when her father was dishonorably discharged from the Marines, Krystal was living with a stepmother who gambled most days and a father who was sexually and physically abusive. When her father was arrested, Krystal was put in foster care at age 9. She was placed with her father’s parents in Star City, Arkansas.
Unfortunately, the abuse continued. Her grandfather was sexually abusive, and her grandmother knew the abuse was taking place and did nothing to stop it. At age 15, Krystal was removed from her grandparents’ home and placed at Vera Lloyd.
Upon moving in, Krystal was anxious that the other girls wouldn’t like her, and was caught stealing jewelry and other items from her housemates. Nikkia, her houseparent, stepped in to help calm Krystal’s anxieties and fears teaching her to respect other people and their property.
Nikkia became the mother Krystal never had. Nikkia taught her to be accountable for her actions and to be assertive, and she helped her master independent living skills. “I thrived in the structured environment at Vera Lloyd,” Krystal says. “My senior year of high school, I was involved in the swim team, soccer, dance and at church. I had never had those kinds of opportunities.”
Krystal graduated from Monticello High School in 2006 and enrolled in classes at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. She bought a car and started working on the UAM campus.
In 2011, Krystal graduated with a degree in psychology and gave birth to her son, Logan. After Logan’s birth, Krystal moved to Mississippi with his father, who became physically abusive. With only the car, her young son and $50 in the bank, Krystal moved back to Arkansas – eventually securing a job and buying a house.
Today, Krystal is married to a wonderful man with whom she is raising their beautiful daughter, Zoe. She is currently employed as a caregiver, and is interested in pursuing a graduate degree in education or social work.
“I had a choice: I could fall into bad things or prove everybody wrong and succeed. I chose to succeed,” Krystal says.