Laney has dealt with a lot of meanness in her life, even at her prior school where she was often picked on for being different. Sometimes, just for the color of her skin.
“I kept trying to figure out what I did to deserve being treated like I was,” Laney says. “I loved helping people. Older ladies walk slow, so I would help them bring their stuff from a store to their cars. I thought, ‘Why were people being so mean to me?’ ”
“There were 38 kids in my class at my old school and the teacher just gave out work. She didn’t have time to help me,” Laney adds. “There was screaming and cussing in class. A boy brought in a pocketknife. It was scary.”
If I let People In, They Will Destroy Me
“I went into a shell because I felt like if I let people in, they would destroy me,” Laney says quietly. “My shell was rudeness. I figured if I was rude, people would stay away from me.”
But all that emotion had to come out somewhere. Soon it began bubbling up at home.
“I would yell, scream, and throw things at my mom. It was wrong of me,” Laney says. “She wanted me to get help and for our relationship to mend, so she brought me to Bethel.”
A 180 turnaround
Laney’s, counselor, social worker and teachers at Bethel Christian Academy used trauma-informed care to gently break through Laney’s shell. With tutoring, she caught up in school and began to shine academically.
Her House Parents in Poindexter Cottage showed her she didn’t deserve to be treated badly. They taught her she was loved and showed her ways to manage her feelings and respond with maturity when she ran into a bad situation.
Then came the Gracious Role Models summer program, a special gift to our girls from Bethel hero Myra Monroe.
Laney loves Gracious Role Models camp with Myra Monroe
“Laney blossomed!” recalls Rosalind Connor, Bethel President and CEO. “I consider this a turning point for her. She began to interact with others with confidence.”
“Watching Laney overcome the meanness she experienced has been an amazing transformation,” says Laney’s social worker, Patrisha Tatum, LMSW. “She made a complete 180. She may be only 13, but she has the wisdom and maturity of someone much older. She picks up on people’s struggles and wants to help them. She has become a great advocate for others.”
A Kinder Future
“When I went home for break, things were amazing. I realized that I love my mom and I am not mad at her. We sat down and had some really great conversations we never had before Bethel,” Laney says. “There are still sometimes we might argue but mostly I have learned we can stop an argument before it starts. My mom is proud of me,” she adds.
Laney is about to complete middle school at Bethel, and she and her mom agreed she will continue at Bethel Christian Academy for high school, where she will still have small classes and teachers who can best meet her needs.
Laney hopes to be a dancer one day, but she also is interested in going to college to be an investigator, so she can help others who have been through tough experiences. She has dreams of making the world a better place.
“The world could be a lot better if people would agree to disagree instead of yelling and killing people,” she says. “It’s not natural to be mean. I would like to see more kindness and niceness of people. “