The following is the second of three life stories told by three courageous Transitional Housing clients, and recent recipients of the Kathee Livengood Foundation Scholarship.
From a young age, J’seca remembers being told she would end up like her mother and never amount to anything.
J’seca spent much of her childhood taking care of her mother, who was addicted to drugs and alcohol.
She’ll never forget running proudly to her mom to tell her that she wanted to be a Police Officer one day. The police came regularly after her father unleashed his abuse on her mother.
She was determined to help families the first time they were hurt, instead of coming and going like they did at her house.
“That’s no job for a lady,” her mother said.
J’seca lost her mother to a hit and run when she was only 16 years old, leaving her and her brother in full custody of their father, who wasted little time to turn his wrath against them.
All she could think about was going to school to get away from the abuse, where her big dreams were met with encouragement. She remembers the day she ran to her father to say, “I know what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be a lawyer!”
“Don’t you know you have to be smart to be a lawyer?” was her dad’s reply.
She thought of how well she did in school, and how it wasn’t enough.
“I walked into the bathroom mirror and said, ‘J’seca, you are going to dream big. You are going to stay in school, and you are going to work hard. You are going to be somebody.”
Soon after, J’seca ran away from home.
Over the years, J’seca was placed in so many homes, she lost count. The journey that brought her to GRACE Transitional Housing brought J’seca and her girls to what they consider the first home of their own.
“My children and GRACE are my family now,” she says.
J’seca is the recipient of the Kathee Livengood Scholarship, and plans to earn the training needed to become a Gynecologist. Even though she dreams big, her greatest aspiration is to make her little girls proud.
“One day I want my daughters to grow up and say, ‘Mommy, I know what I want to be when I grow up!’ When I say, ‘what’s that?’ they say, ‘Just like you!’”
About the Kathee Livengood Scholarship
After our community lost prominent philanthropist Kathee Livengood to cancer in 2012, the Women’s Division of the Grapevine Chamber established a memorial fund in her honor to help deserving women seek new opportunities and increase their earning potential.
Livengood was the driving force behind many charitable causes, and her collective passion for others raised thousands of dollars for local children and families.
We are moved by J’seca’s courage and grateful for Kathee Livengood’s abundant life, which continues to inspire us to live as she lived.