NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — NewsChannel 5 is participating in the Red Kettle Challenge -- a virtual fundraiser for the Nashville chapter of the Salvation Army. We wanted to highlight the good work they're doing every day, like helping LaQuisha Horton get back on her feet.
When it comes to parenting, Horton uses her own childhood as her recipe.
"We’re having lunch. She’s obviously cooking and getting it together," said Horton, as she and her 4-year-old daughter have a play-dinner, using kids toys at the Salvation Army Center of Hope.
But it's the kind of recipe that a good chef -- and parent -- never repeats. "I just teach them the things I was never taught as a child, things I missed out on. I try to endorse it in my kids, give it to them," she said.
Some memories are so traumatic, the only way Horton has been able to cope is through pen, paper and poetry.
One of her short poems says in part:
Around the same time every night, he takes what isn’t his.
Afraid to speak up and tell someone, scared maybe it was something she did.
What started as a short poem detailing her struggles with sexual abuse and addiction has given way to several pages of her life story. Here's another excerpt:
She was so stressed out, her mother was out doing drugs.
Her sister was treating her like she was invisible, all she wanted was a loving hug.
She slowed down on her eating, her sister introduced her to weed
So that’s another habit she picked up thinking that’s what every 11-year-old needs.
She admits, her story almost came to an abrupt end. "If I weren’t here, I’d probably be in the street somewhere," said Horton.
The turning point came just a few months ago when her family moved into the Salvation Army Center of Hope. "They’re helping me with employment and housing and a stable home," she said.
Now, anchored with a support system and a firm foundation in faith, Horton is hoping to pursue dreams she never thought were possible, like becoming an author. "I love it, it’s the way I express myself," she explained.
She says she's also becoming a better parent and provider with every passing day. "I think it’s going to end well, very well," said Horton.
If you'd like to donate to the Red Kettle Challenge -- click here.