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Insecurities left in Tabitha's past

September 10, 2013

By W. James Edminson, Editor

It is hard to imagine that Tabitha ever felt like she needed to hide. She is a bright-eyed, articulate seventeen year old.

It is hard to imagine that there was a time when Tabitha refused to do school projects because she feared giving a report in front of her classmates. Last year, she was tagged in groups as the leader to make presentations and she thrived in her theater arts class.

But her insecurities were real.

Her father was rearing her and her brothers alone. He was disabled by a back injury that occurred on the job. Home life was a struggle to make ends meet. Things were always tight. And although they never went without, there were days when there wasn’t much. The family lived in poverty.

“I felt so insecure,” she admits. “It was ruining me. I didn’t talk to anyone.”

Tabitha states she was overweight and felt awkward. She says she wore an extra-large jacket all the time – “winter, summer, it didn’t matter.” She says she wore the jacket to cover herself up – to hide.

“I had such low self esteem; I was an open target,” she says.

Tabitha became the focus of children’s bullying. “People are just determined to pick on someone, and they picked on me. I was so scared.”

According to www.bullyingfacts.info, around 282,000 students each month are victimized by bullying in the US. Around 90% of the victims admit they suffer negative side effects. Of those being bullied, 14% experience extremely bad effects due to school bullying including “bullycide” (suicide committed because of bullying). Leading years for bullying begin as early as the fourth grade.

Tabitha’s younger brother Trevor was bullied, too. The taunting had become violent. He was afraid to ride the school bus. His emotions that he kept pent up inside erupted at home. Tabitha’s dad was overwhelmed. An aunt suggested Broyhill Home in Clyde.

“I wasn’t supposed to go to Broyhill for the visit and tour,” Tabitha muses. “I had tagged along to keep Trevor company. But before the end of the day, we both were living here.” Although it was unplanned for Tabitha to live at Broyhill Home, she was willing to try something new. “I would be with Trevor I told myself. And I thought it would be good for Dad.”

Once the caregiver in her family, Tabitha now had loving houseparents to care for her. There were new clothes, healthy food to eat at every meal, and an environment where she and Trevor were safe.

She still didn’t feel comfortable talking. All of a sudden she was living with a cottage full of kids. And at first, she was afraid that they might pick on her. But as the days went by, she realized her life was a lot different. She realized she didn’t have to be scared anymore.

Tabitha found herself opening up to her houseparents. Her grades steadily improved. She went from speaking to her teachers in a whisper to openly engaging them.

Two years after arriving at Broyhill, Tabitha is a different person. Trevor is thriving. Life is good for their father. Broyhill Home has made a positive impact on the family. Tabitha says they are better people and act better towards each other.

“I’m not hiding anymore,” she says. “I am who I am today because of Broyhill Home. I can’t wait to see where God takes me next.”

You can help make hope possible for children like Tabitha by making a gift to Baptist Children's Homes. Please give online at www.bchfamily.org/givenow to help immediately.