Simple gifts could warm teen's lifetime of abuse

The gifts of music, a warm pair of shoes and a jacket will help an abused young teen know someone cares. Just a little.

If you saw this 13-year-old walking your way, you might be put off by her appearance. To mask her inner wounds, she's donned a tough-as-nails exterior.

She was born to drug-addicted parents, and the court awarded custody of Kayla to the dad — the lesser of two evils.

Unfortunately, his addiction issues remained problematic, so Kayla was shipped off to live with her mom in another state. There her mother prostituted Kayla out for drugs until authorities found out.

Mom went to prison. Kayla was sent back to the Rogue Valley.

Kayla moved from foster care to foster care placement until she landed with her uncle, a less than happy experience. Like most children, Kayla wanted to be with a parent. Because she got along with her dad the best, she was returned to him. Unfortunately, his drug addiction again reared its ugly head and took precedent over little Kayla.

Kayla is smart and talented, especially in art, where she has painted images for the Children's Advocacy Center through its mentoring and art program.

Her overall demeanor has changed since she has been getting therapy. She has toned down her appearance and is beginning to see herself in a different way.

Unfortunately, Kayla recently learned that her dad will be going to prison, and that she will again be uprooted and placed in foster care.

The defensive façade returned for a few weeks. But Kayla's true colors were revealed recently when the mentoring girls volunteered for Toys for Tots.

At the end of the day, the girls were given a choice of gifts to take home. All the girls but Kayla picked something for themselves. Kayla picked a stuffed animal for her little sister.

If you can help this teen, Kayla would like a pair of Uggs, women's size 8; a jacket, size large; and a gift card to buy CDs.

Please contact Alexis at the Children's Advocacy Center, or 541-734-5437.

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