A child of a gang member, and a survivor of violence and poverty, Karla* (her real name is changed for protection) never knew what God’s peace and protection were. Then one day that all changed, when she arrived at the City of Refuge.
Her father was a gang member, and that violence entered their house one night when a rival gang came in and killed him in front of his family and five-year-old Karla. Karla’s mother, unable to cope with the stress of witnessing the violence, started using drugs to deaden the pain. Distraught and confused, Karla’s brothers sought revenge for their father’s death and decided to join rival gangs. Karla lived in a setting of violence and neglect until one day, in 2008, when she was brought to the City of Refuge.
“I have experienced the love of a family, and have people that protect me.” She shares. She has flourished in the security and love of Teresa and Tom, and City of Refuge staff. Not only has she grown to trust and love those around her, but she also has grown to trust and accept God’s love for her. Through this love, she is learning to heal from her past experiences and to move forward into developing into an amazing woman. She is smart, talented in athletics and music, and is friendly and inquisitive. Thanks to IMI, her future is bright and full of potential!