Larry Kelley, Creating a Legacy of Caring

Larry Kelley

Larry Kelley and Family

I was placed in care at Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home in 1978 at the age of eleven. Hundreds of children have entered the doors of Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home with a life story like mine. We are children who know what it is like to be hungry, abused, unloved, unwanted. We know anger, hate, and betrayal. We have seen alcohol and drugs destroy families.

Some of us arrive at safety so late in our childhood we feel that neglect and abuse cannot be overcome. Sometimes the damage cannot be repaired, at least not immediately. I did not go on to college and become a doctor or the CEO of a big corporation. Some things were just too far out of my educational reach. You might think my path was unchanged by my years in residential education, but there is more to the story.

Simple words of inspiration at the Children’s Home made a lifetime of difference to me: “I love you. I am proud of you. You’re doing a good job. I am so glad you’re part of this family. What can I do to help?” I learned that parents have the responsibility to show children that it is not normal for a father to abuse his wife or his children. For their children, parents should provide food, clothing, education, and especially a safe and loving home.

From the example of the family setting at the Children’s Home, I learned invaluable parenting skills. My son has never been hungry, unloved, unwanted, nor has he doubted that he could fulfill his dreams because of a limited level of education. Because I was cared for at the Children’s Home, my son has what it takes to make his dreams become reality. Residential education programs may not always produce CEOs, but they do produce happier families. From those families come even more successful individuals, like my son.

It is my hope that the doors of Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home will always be open to receive children who need to know there are people to love and inspire them. It is because of the Children’s Home, my son can say, “Dad loves me and wants the best for me.”

Larry Kelley is creating the legacy of caring in the next generation of his family. CORE’s national network of residential education programs – including Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home – provides open doors for kids like Larry who need a loving home. CORE is working to ensure that these doors continue to remain open.

February 2010