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Montay Focuses On Hopeful Future

August 14, 2012

By W. James (Jim) Edminson

It is heart-breaking for a child to realize that the one who should love him the most chooses a devotion to her addiction instead of a devotion to him. His mom’s energy is spent buying, selling and using drugs. Instead of preparing good meals to enjoy at the kitchen table, helping with homework right after school, or watching with her child a favorite television program, her hours are lost long into the night hustling on the streets or lying comatose on a ragged sofa in a filthy, run-down apartment. There is nothing left in her life for her son. He is alone.

“My mom is a drug addict,” eighteen-year-old Montay says coldly. “I remember thinking, ‘Are you going to get rid of your son just because you want to use drugs?’”

Feelings of abandonment turned into hurt, pain and anger. The flood of emotions erupted into behavior that Montay chooses not even to discuss.

“I was always so mad,” Montay confides. “People told me to count to ten, but I couldn’t think of counting to ten. I’d just react.”

When he was 14 years old, Montay was placed into a highly-structured group home. Instead of struggling with the restrictions and confinement, he found comfort and grew to appreciate his caregivers.

“The structure helped me,” he admits. “I began to learn coping skills. There were people there who gave me a good home.”

From there, he was placed in a foster home. And even though it was supposed to be better than the group home, Montay struggled and in a short time he ran away. It seemed another dark time for the young man, but from that experience he landed at Kennedy Home in Kinston – here he begins to break away from his past.

“Where I’ve come from,” he says, “it’s not what I wanted in my life. Lots of people have told me that I would never amount to anything – that I wouldn’t even graduate high school.”

But to every person who saw Montay failing, he would rebut – “I told them I would be something, and I’m a person of my word.”

Montay’s cottage parents undergird his determination. He says they are role models for him.

“They have been there for me,” he says. “I needed to be loved and I needed attention – and they never failed me.”

Love now fills the void Montay’s mother left in his heart and life. In June, he graduated from high school and is now enrolled in a 12-week program to become a certified Personal Care Aid. He then plans on attending community college to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Looking further ahead, he hopes to become a registered nurse.

“Don’t tell me I can’t do something,” Montay says. “I’m a focused person. I want to break the cycle in my family and be something. The streets are not for me.”

His confidence is grounded in those around him on whom he counts for support. Montay also credits God for where he is today.

“Without God, I wouldn’t have made it,” he says. “I was a crack baby. My life had been up and down. If God weren’t with me, I would be all messed up today. I now see how God has been there for me all my life.”