April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and we have been reporting on agencies around town that help kids who have suffered abuse.

One such place is the Tennyson Center for Children in Denver. And one child who was there is a great example of how they can turn a horrible situation into a productive and loving one. 

Kayla came to Tennyson Center when she was six, and had all sorts of emotional issues.

She had already been through 17 different foster homes, and several other failed placements.

But two years of therapy and support and love from the staff turned her life around.

And that was only the beginning of her new life.

Melissa and Justin Larson of Johnstown became Kayla’s foster parents … and that’s not even the best part of her new life.

Recently they adopted her, and became a wonderful, loving, happy family.

Melissa says it hasn’t all been easy.

But with the help of Tennyson Center staff, she and Justin learned how to deal with Kayla’s trauma.

They learned how to work through her issues.

“Accepting Kayla for Kayla is what we do”, Melissa says. “We can’t change the kid, but we can change how we react to the kid. She’s been through what she’s been through, and her mind can’t handle a lot of what she’s gone through.”

But the family support is there now, and slowly Kayla is realizing what it’s like to be a “normal” kid.

She has friends, is doing well in school, and loves her new family. 

As we mark this Child Abuse Prevention Month, another thing Melissa told us sticks with us.

“Just because of the kid’s past, or that other people gave up on them, doesn’t mean they are damaged and don’t deserve to have a loving, safe home. With grace.”

For more information on the Tennyson Center, visit: https://tennysoncenter.org/about-us/featured-news/