When Latisha was 6 years old, her mom succumbed to a mental illness and lost the ability to care for her.
“We had no running water or electricity or food in the house. I only ate when I was at school” Latisha recalled. “I didn’t know other kids didn’t live that way.”
It was a tough start, but she has no bitterness. Latisha says her mom did as much as she was able to do. Instead, she focuses on the many positive blessings in her life since then. In fact, she refers to her years at Bethel as “an almost perfect childhood.”
Latisha, back row third from left, with her Bethel family.
What a Great Life Looks Like
It’s easy to see the strength of character, the calm resolve and the strong faith in God that have led Latisha to a successful life. She is a polished professional who has worked for the same company for 29 years, a loving wife, the mother of a son, 25, and two daughters, 23 and 14, and now grandmother to two beautiful babies.
In addition, she and her husband Jonathan have fostered five children, earning the “Foster Parent of the Year” award a few years ago.
Jonathan and Latisha with grand babies Norii and Addisyn, and their Foster Parent award.
She credits her Bethel House Parents, Floyd and Deborah Richardson, for preparing her for all of it and for giving her “exposure to a great life.”
“I traveled to places I never would have seen, Miss Deborah taught me to play the piano, I even tried archery,” Latisha recalls. “It was a wonderful exposure to the world. Bad things happened where I used to live, but those things did not happen at Bethel.”
Deborah Richardson, still a Bethel House Parent today, caught up with Latisha in a recent visit.
A Color-Blind Love for People
“I have always liked that Bethel has diversity,” Latisha said. “Bethel didn’t see color, and as I got older, I didn’t either. Now, my kids are the same way.”
She also learned what a Christian family looks like, modeled by her House Parents.
“Uncle Floyd taught me very important lessons,” Latisha remembered. “He showed us respect and opened doors for us and explained how a man should act on a date. He told us to not accept anything less and to find a church-going man for a husband.”
Passing Down Christian Values
Latisha said above all else, the Christian values that Bethel teaches prepare kids well for a good life.
“We did our chores and were held accountable for keeping up the place where we lived. We grew up going to church. It was non-negotiable,” Latisha noted. “We were spiritually grounded, our House Parents guided us on the music we listened to and the TV we watched. It’s funny how I have raised my kids the same way.”
On a recent visit back to Bethel, Latisha’s teen daughter Lyric shared the Bethel values her mom has passed along to her:
This is the heart of what Bethel offers. The chance to change a child’s life for the better with an impact that ripples down through future generations.