Brandy was in her grandmother's custody at an early age, never had a relationship with her mother and didn’t meet her father until she was sixteen. Throughout her childhood, Brandy felt her grandmother favored her brother and never gave her the attention she needed. Feeling abandoned and unloved, Brandy became defiant. When her grandmother felt she could no longer manage Brandy’s defiance, she turned to the court system for assistance.
At 12 years-old, Brandy became a ward of the state and was taken to the KyUMH Mary Kendall Campus Emergency Shelter to await placement. Brandy was placed in 27 different facilities before eventually returning to the Mary Kendall Campus Residential Treatment Program. “Every 30 days I was moving, changing schools and leaving friends, but when I got to Mary Kendall (residential) I got stability and the things that helped me,” Brandy recalls. “I had a fear of abandonment because I was left. I felt like I was being dumped multiple times.” Despite her fear, Brandy found the home she needed at KyUMH. “We all needed stability and I didn’t have that with my grandmother. At Mary Kendall, I started to trust people more. It was consistent. I got the attention I needed. I could knock on their door to talk or cry in their office. I knew they were on my side every day.”
Even with her new stability and needed attention, Brandy’s past feelings would return. “At times I would get combative and throw things. I was so out of control from anger built up in me. After my rampage, I could sit on the floor and talk to the staff. I needed that one-on-one attention. I didn’t know how to explain my feelings without getting upset. I ran away several times, but would always come back because that was my home, my safe haven.” Brandy learned to trust others and develop lasting friendships. “I met so many girls. We learned from each other and grew together. I’m still friends with several of the girls.”
At 16 Brandy was moved into a foster home, but later returned to enter the Mary Kendall Independent Living Program. She was still in high school and needed support to graduate and begin adulthood. “They helped me get on my feet. They placed me in an apartment. I had a job and they helped me learn to balance a checkbook, grocery shop and pay bills. Things a young adult should start to learn.”
She is grateful for the love and compassion she received at KyUMH. “Staying there is one of those things that you don’t really appreciate then, but you’re thankful that you had it now. They were there for me 100 percent.”
Brandy is now a college graduate, mother and a nurse. She worked nights to support her family while attending nursing school. She is determined to provide a better childhood for her daughters than she experienced.