Paulina’s journey leading to success
    October 18 2010 by J. Blake Ragsdale, BCH

    Paulina climbs into the driver’s seat of her just-purchased 1998 Jeep Cherokee. For many months, she saved money to buy her very first vehicle.

    The teenager smiles as she grips the worn steering wheel. As she looks through the windshield, Paulina sees her dreams come into focus. She imagines driving herself from her cottage at Mills Home to the local restaurant where she works and then to the community college she attends.

    After taking numerous turns, Paulina, 19, is on a well-paved road to success.

    “I know what I want,” she says confidently. “Here at Mills Home, I am motivated to keep going.”

    Paulina has lived on the Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) campus in Thomasville since age 15. Being there has given her stability she never knew.

    Paulina’s father was controlling and often abusive to her mother. Once in a fit of rage, he sent his wife tumbling down stairs when she was pregnant with Paulina. Paulina was unharmed, but the defenseless mother fell hard, breaking her nose.

    After Paulina was born, her father took her to other people’s houses without informing his wife. Her mother had no way of knowing where her daughter would be or with whom. It was a way he callously controlled his family and punished Paulina’s mother.

    “A dad wouldn’t do that,” Paulina says, a scowl marking her face. “He hurt my mom very badly. I don’t hold a grudge, but I know what’s real, and the reality is that he wasn’t a good person.” 

    BCH photo

    Paulina, 19, is thankful for the safety she found at Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina. She feels motivated to pursue higher goals.

    Her mother filed for divorce when Paulina was three-years-old and her father was imprisoned for abuse. Her mother remarried when Paulina was seven, but the second marriage was wrought with problems and turmoil.

    Life became miserable for Paulina. The couple placed Paulina at Mills Home to remove her from the environment.

    Living at BCH has given Paulina the opportunity to focus on herself and to heal. 

    “I needed someone to love me,” she admits.

    Her houseparents, Bobby and Sonya Dalke, gave Paulina the care and comfort she needed.

    “I was an angry kid and hurting. At times, I took it out on them, but they would not let me give up,” Paulina says. The Dalkes helped her deal with her emotions directing her energies into academics and sports. Paulina discovered a passion for playing soccer and running track.

    “They helped me believe I could run track and make it to the regionals,” Paulina says. “But the most important thing they taught me is that I am a precious child of God.”

    On Aug. 16, 2006, Paulina knelt with the Dalkes and prayed accepting Christ into her heart.

    “My favorite verse is Matthew 19:26,” Paulina says, “where it says ‘with God all things are possible.’”

    Paulina has seen the truth of that scripture unfold in her own life. Before, hope and happiness did not seem attainable. Today, Paulina’s goals are within reach. She participates in BCH’s transitional living program that teaches her skills she needs to be an independent adult while helping her achieve educational goals.

    Paulina is so thankful for the opportunity she has received at Baptist Children’s Homes that she wants to become a social worker.

    “My dream is to give back and impact the lives of others just as my life has been impacted by BCH,” Paulina reveals. “Thank you, North Carolina Baptists, for your support and prayers. You are making a difference.”

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Ragsdale is director of communications for Baptist Children’s Homes of N.C.)
    10/18/2010 10:03:00 AM by J. Blake Ragsdale, BCH | with 0 comments

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