When I started working at the Center in December 2005, I never dreamed I’d see so much child abuse. I had no idea that child abuse happens every day in West Tennessee, even in the smallest of communities.
I never dreamed I’d see a little boy with a collarbone broken at the hands of his father or a teenager with scars from his father’s belt, scars so shocking that he hides them from his peers in gym class.
I never dreamed I’d see a little girl who has been victimized by so many of her mother’s boyfriends that law enforcement removed her from their home. I never dreamed I’d see so many grandmothers raising their grandchildren because their moms and dads are addicted to meth or cocaine or heroin. I also never dreamed I’d see so many babies born addicted as well.
I never dreamed I’d meet a little girl who wouldn’t call her mother Mama anymore because she had hurt her so many times she didn’t deserve the title. I never dreamed I’d sit in court until 8 o’clock one night watching a beautiful, blonde 6-year-old girl clutching a teddy bear as she testified against her stepfather for the atrocities he had done to her. Daddy was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a case so horrific that an area pediatrician uses it as a teaching tool.
And I certainly never dreamed I’d meet a baby who had been thrown across a room so violently that she passed out when she struck the wall. I kept her for two days later when her grandmother went to court to ask for custody. I played with her and kissed on her as her eyes sparkled from the attention she’d been craving. As I held her, I realized that she wasn’t responding to my voice. I began speaking louder, clapping my hands behind her, all to no avail. When the baby’s grandmother returned, I told her that I feared she might have some hearing loss. Three weeks later I got a call from the grandmother’s attorney. That sweet, precious baby girl had permanent and complete hearing loss from the abuse. One minute she was a perfectly healthy baby; the next, she was made deaf for the rest of her life.
I never dreamed I’d see the things I see every day at the Carl Perkins Center. If you could see what I see, it would change your life forever. I support the Carl Perkins Center because of the children I see every day: children with broken spirits, broken bones and broken hearts. I give so that I can dream of a world where child abuse doesn’t exist and all children live happy, safe lives. I give because I believe in a better world. I give because I believe in the Carl Perkins Center.