Author thanks Wedgwood home for transforming life


FOR NEARLY 60 YEARS, WEDGWOOD CHRISTIAN SERVICES HAS BEEN OFFERING A HOME, LIFE SKILLS AND LOTS OF LOVE TO TROUBLED CHILDREN.BRIAN:..NEWS 8’S EMILY LINNERT SHOWS US HOW THE INSTITUTION CHANGED ONE WOMAN’S LIFE DECADES AGO. 3 AT 65-YEARS-OLD PERI STITZEL IS A MOTHER, WIFE AND A WOMAN OF STRONG FAITH–A LIFE THAT SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE TO THE CHILD SHE WAS IN 1950S AND 60S. (PERI: “BASICALLY I WASN’T WANTED.”)AT AGE 5, PERI’S FATHER KIDNAPPED HER FROM HER MOTHER AND TOOK HER TO LIVE WITH HIS NEW WIFE WHERE SHE BECAME THE VICTIM OF THEIR ABUSE–BOTH PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL. (PERI: “I LIVED IN TERROR 24/7 I WOULD WAKE UP AT NIGHT TO FIND SOMEBODY THAT DIDN’T BELONG THERE. SO I NEVER, NEVER GOT AWAY FROM THE TERROR OF IT.”)AFTER SPENDING YEARS AT YOUTH HOMES AND MENTAL FACILITIES–SHE FINALLY LANDED AT 1245 LAKE DRIVE IN GRAND RAPIDS. BACK THEN WEDGWOOD WAS KNOWN AS CHRISTIAN YOUTH HOMES. SHE WAS 13-YEARS-OLD. (PERI: “BY THE TIME I GOT TO WEDGWOOD I DIDN’T TRUST ANYBODY. ESPECIALLY IF YOU WERE RELIGIOUS AND THEY CLAIMED TO BE CHRISTIANS.”) (MOLLY GUILLAUME: ” I VIVIDLY REMEMBER THE DAY SHE CAME….”) MOLLY GUILLAUME WAS PERI’S CASE WORKER—SHE WAS THERE WITH HER DURING THE FOUR YEARS PERI SPENT AT WEDGWOOD—-FOUR YEARS THAT SET HER ON A DIFFERENT TRACK FOR HER LIFE. (PERI: “WEDGWOOD GAVE ME THE FIRST CHANCE TO BE ABLE TO SLEEP ALL NIGHT AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY. TO KNOW THAT I WAS SAFE.”) (MOLLY: “IT WAS UNIMAGINABLE FOR ME TO ENTER THE PAIN THAT SHE EXPERIENCED.”)STILL, THANKS TO LOVE, PATIENCE AND SUPPORT FROM MOLLY AND THE STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS AT WEDGWOOD, PERI’S LIFE OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT- WAS TRANSFORMED.–LIKE THE VOLUNTEER WHO GAVE HER A NEW WINTER COAT FOR CHRISTMAS ONE YEAR–AND THE HAND-MADE DRESS WITH FLOUNCEY SLEEVES. (PERI: “I STILL, AT 65 YEARS OF AGE, STILL HAVE THE DRESS THAT WAS MADE FOR ME WHEN I WAS 17, MY HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION. I STILL HAVE IT.”) SHE’S WRITTEN A BOOK “FROM BROKEN TO BEAUTIFUL–HOW CHRIST’S LOVE CONQUERED ABUSE IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD. SHE WANTS IT TO HELP OTHERS OVERCOME THEIR PAST–THE WAY WEDGWOOD WAS ABLE TO HELP HER. (PERI: “WEDGWOOD GAVE ME A LIFE BACK, A LIFE I WOULDN’T HAVE KNOWN. THEY GAVE ME LIFE. I FEEL LIKE IF YOU TOOK MY BLOOD OUT OF ME IT WOULDN’T BE MY PARENTS IT WOULD BE WEDGWOOD.”) 3 EMILY:..WEDGWOOD’S 59TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION WILL TAKE PLACE TOMORROW EVENING AT MEIJER GARDENS.IF YOU’D LIKE TO PURCHASE TICKETS, WE HAVE A LINK INSIDE OUR STORY AT WOODTV.COM. 3

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