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Beacon of Hope 2013 (video)

“Once again, I see greatness,” a tearful Tanya Ramey said to the room of more than 430 Beech Ball guests on April 19. She intentionally repeated this line (her response to the question, “What do you see in your future?”), from the Beacon of Hope video, shown just moments before she took the stage.

Emotionally overwhelmed by the standing ovation she received, Tanya said, “I never thought in a million years that me and my children would be standing here in front of you – this is a beautiful moment for me. … I know this is just the beginning … we’re not stopping. And I’m forever grateful for you all.”

A client at Beech Brook’s Family Drop-In Center, Tanya openly shared her personal story on camera, detailing how she learned to overcome issues from her past to become a better parent to her four children.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Tanya characterized her early childhood years as fairly happy. That soon changed, however, when some relatives moved into town. “When I was 6 or 7, evil arrived on my doorstep,” Tanya said. “I saw another side of my family.” She went on to explain that she endured years of molestation by her uncles, unbeknownst to anyone else.

“I was abused physically, and it transpired into something mentally, because as a child I didn’t know how to handle that. I didn’t know what was right or wrong, or what to say. … I didn’t know how to get the help I needed, and things spiraled down from there.”

As a teenager, Tanya said she rebelled against everyone and everything, turning to alcohol and drugs to help ease her pain, and running with the wrong kind of crowd. “I was on a journey of destruction. Everywhere I went, I found trouble.”

To make matters worse, her mother, who had addiction issues of her own, became very ill and required Tanya’s care. “I spent my mother’s last days just doing the best I could,” Tanya said. “After she died, I became even more angry and frustrated … and I wanted to know why – why did everything happen to me?!”

Continuing down a dangerous path of alcohol, drugs and risky behavior, Tanya had her first child when she was just 15 – and eventually three more. Although she loved her children, her parenting ability was overshadowed by the anger that festered in her from her childhood trauma.

“I didn’t know it was because of the hurt behind it,” Tanya said. She described how one day it all came out. “I just lost it. I got into a bad altercation with my children’s father and ended up going to jail.”

This was the wake-up call that Tanya needed. “Suddenly I felt like I had been stripped of everything. I knew I had this one last chance to straighten up and fly right. My children were given to me as a blessing, and I knew I had to get help.”

In addition working on getting sober, Tanya sought help at Beech Brook’s Family Drop-In Center for anger management and parenting education. There she learned how to process and cope with the issues from her past so she could move on with her life and be a better parent to her children. “They taught me how to deal with life on life’s terms,” Tanya said.

“Just listening to someone can save their life. That’s what Beech Brook did for me and my children. They listened. I thank God for Beech Brook.”

It’s been just a year since Tanya made the decision to get her life back on track, and she’s made remarkable progress. Her 7-year-old son said he’s thankful he has his mother back — “the new Tanya” as he put it.

“My daughter doesn’t have that look of worry in her eyes anymore,” Tanya said. “She knows we’re going to be alright.”

Watch the video