Chasity’s mother was juggling death threats from her abusive husband and the reality of being evicted from their one-bedroom Houston apartment. She had nowhere to turn. Her children had nowhere to go. That’s when she called Palmer Home for Children.
Staff members drove to Houston, Texas and waited for Chasity’s mother to call when her husband was on his way to work. The staff had to work fast and with great sensitivity to safely rescue Chasity and her siblings.
That was the first time the staff saw 12-year-old Chasity. She was standing in a parking lot carrying a laundry basket full of dripping wet clothes.
Chasity and her five siblings quickly filed out of their apartment complex, carrying the only possessions they owned in garbage bags. They were visibly nervous and apprehensive.
The children were moved to a residential care facility in Mississippi, and after a few months, Chasity said the new atmosphere began to feel like home.
“My biological family was not a good influence,” Chasity, now 22, recalled. She explained that her stepfather didn’t care for the children who weren’t biologically his. As the family’s financial situation slipped, so did the adults’ tolerance of the children. “There was not a lot of love there,” she said.
A few months after she and her siblings arrived, Chasity had the opportunity to move back home with her mother. The family and financial situations had improved, and her mother wanted the children to return.
“I have a lot of good memories of my time at Palmer Home,” Chasity said. “But my favorite memory is very bittersweet. It’s of the day I told my mom I wasn’t going back to her house. That was a really tough thing to do. I cried about it and prayed about it, talked about it with the people I trusted, and then I had the conversation with my mom.”
Chasity has happier memories – memories of friendships and vacations, but that memory is her favorite because of the freedom that came with it. “I felt at peace with that decision, and it set in motion all the changes for the better that would come in my life,” she said. She knew if she stayed at Palmer Home, she would have the chance to go to school and pursue a better future for herself.
Brittany and Al were Chasity’s caregivers in her last 3 years on the Palmer Home campus, while she attended college. They describe her as passionate, friendly, forgiving, and self-motivated. “She’s had to make some big decisions at a very young age, and it has helped her grow,” said Brittany. “She is an overcomer. Determination is her strength, along with the ability to be very understanding in every situation.”
“Palmer Home gave me the experience of having a big family — a family to care for you and encourage you, back you up and support you,” said Chasity. “Even now, it’s always encouraging to know I have people I can always talk to. It helped me grow; it helped me push myself further because I knew I had people who supported me. I felt family love, and I knew I would never get that with my mom.”
It’s been more than 10 years since Chasity left her abusive family, and she’s come a long way from that one-bedroom apartment in Houston. She is now 23 years old and a graduate of Belmont University’s nursing program.
A story like Chasity’s is what Palmer Home is all about – transformation. A changed life.
“Once she knew what she wanted to become and who she was in Christ, nothing could stand in her way,” said Brittany. “I know she looks back on life and sees how things could have been. She’s thankful for the opportunity she has been given to become who she knows she is supposed to be.”