Jeff Saturday, former Indianapolis Colts center and our Blue Breakfast keynote speaker, had this to say about Tyler, our Coburn Place graduate and also a speaker. “I get a chance to speak and go to a lot of places, but very seldom do you hear a young man articulate what he has been through in such a remarkable fashion. We’re proud of you and your family. It was an honor to watch you.” We couldn’t have said it better, Jeff.
Tyler’s mom was just 16 when he was born. When he was four, his father was shot and killed. His mom married a few years later, but found herself in the grips of an abusive relationship and with two more children. She divorced but wound up in yet another abusive relationship. The cycle of violence continued.
The cards for a promising future seemed to be stacked against Tyler. In his own words, he was “just one step closer to being another statistic.”
But he isn’t. That’s where you and Coburn Place made the difference.
After the abuse escalated to a dangerous level, Tyler and his family fled. They found safety at a local shelter, but only temporarily. One day his mother excitedly told her children “Our prayers have been answered. We’re going to Coburn Place.”
“Great! Great! Great! Uh, what’s Coburn Place?” Tyler asked.
He recounted pulling into the gated parking lot and immediately feeling safe. He also remembered a giant painting, which hangs in our foyer, of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King’s eyes seemed to follow Tyler as he walked by. And he remembered walking with Keith, our Maintenance Coordinator, to their new home- the fully-furnished apartment that your support provides.
Tyler counts many blessings along his journey to healing the pain of domestic violence. Finding a church home and his faith, meeting a wonderful mentor, delving into his school work and gaining a new “family” at Coburn Place all helped him succeed.
The Coburn Place Children’s Services staff made a lasting impression on Tyler. “They encouraged me, and in a lot of ways, molded my character, and who I became.” He turned to them for advice. They relied on him to help out with the younger children. He is currently a college student, studying music and theater. To this day, he declares that “Ms. Shawnta (Children’s Services Director) is like my second mother.”
With the poise of someone twice his age, Tyler captured the hearts and respect of the Blue Breakfast audience. “Two years changed my life forever. Coburn Place was the best thing that’s happened to me. I found out that total strangers do care,” he shared. Thank you for caring. Neither of us could do it without you. To read more stories of the impact you are having, read our 2013 Annual Report.