Paulina’s journey leading to success
J. Blake Ragsdale, BCH
October 18, 2010

Paulina’s journey leading to success

Paulina’s journey leading to success
J. Blake Ragsdale, BCH
October 18, 2010

Paulina climbs into the

driver’s seat of her just-purchased 1998 Jeep Cherokee. For many months, she

saved money to buy her very first vehicle.

The teenager smiles as she

grips the worn steering wheel. As she looks through the windshield, Paulina

sees her dreams come into focus. She imagines driving herself from her cottage

at Mills Home to the local restaurant where she works and then to the community

college she attends.

After taking numerous turns,

Paulina, 19, is on a well-paved road to success.

“I know what I want,” she

says confidently. “Here at Mills Home, I am motivated to keep going.”

Paulina has lived on the

Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) campus in Thomasville since age 15. Being there

has given her stability she never knew.

Paulina’s father was

controlling and often abusive to her mother. Once in a fit of rage, he sent his

wife tumbling down stairs when she was pregnant with Paulina. Paulina was

unharmed, but the defenseless mother fell hard, breaking her nose.

After Paulina was born, her

father took her to other people’s houses without informing his wife. Her mother

had no way of knowing where her daughter would be or with whom. It was a way he

callously controlled his family and punished Paulina’s mother.

“A dad wouldn’t do that,”

Paulina says, a scowl marking her face. “He hurt my mom very badly. I don’t

hold a grudge, but I know what’s real, and the reality is that he wasn’t a good


BCH photo

Paulina, 19, is thankful for the safety she found at Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina. She feels motivated to pursue higher goals.

Her mother filed for

divorce when Paulina was three-years-old and her father was imprisoned for

abuse. Her mother remarried when Paulina was seven, but the second marriage was

wrought with problems and turmoil.

Life became miserable for Paulina. The

couple placed Paulina at Mills Home to remove her from the environment.

Living at BCH has given

Paulina the opportunity to focus on herself and to heal.

“I needed someone to

love me,” she admits.

Her houseparents, Bobby and

Sonya Dalke, gave Paulina the care and comfort she needed.

“I was an angry kid and

hurting. At times, I took it out on them, but they would not let me give up,”

Paulina says. The Dalkes helped her deal with her emotions directing her

energies into academics and sports. Paulina discovered a passion for playing

soccer and running track.

“They helped me believe I

could run track and make it to the regionals,” Paulina says. “But the most

important thing they taught me is that I am a precious child of God.”

On Aug. 16, 2006, Paulina

knelt with the Dalkes and prayed accepting Christ into her heart.

“My favorite verse is

Matthew 19:26,” Paulina says, “where it says ‘with God all things are


Paulina has seen the truth

of that scripture unfold in her own life. Before, hope and happiness did not

seem attainable. Today, Paulina’s goals are within reach. She participates in

BCH’s transitional living program that teaches her skills she needs to be an

independent adult while helping her achieve educational goals.

Paulina is so thankful for

the opportunity she has received at Baptist Children’s Homes that she wants to

become a social worker.

“My dream is to give back

and impact the lives of others just as my life has been impacted by BCH,”

Paulina reveals. “Thank you, North Carolina Baptists, for your support and

prayers. You are making a difference.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Ragsdale is

director of communications for Baptist Children’s Homes of N.C.)