These boys, Eddie and Donovan, were Cheyene’s nephews. She is a beloved aunt to five young children, born to her sister and her sister’s husband. Unfortunately, both sister and husband are addicted to heroin and have been for the last 10 years. Worse yet, Cheyene was no stranger to drug addiction within her family. She was taken by her grandmother out of her home as a young child, because Cheyene’s own parents were addicted to heroin. Cheyene also lost her brother to a drug overdose just a few years ago.
While she was pregnant with her fifth child, Cheyene’s sister was homeless and injecting daily. It wasn’t until the police became involved that the other four children, and eventually the infant, were removed from the situation and placed separately into foster care. These children, born into addiction like Cheyene, never had the opportunity to know right from wrong. They were raised in chaotic, unclean, and dangerous environments. Every night they were in and out of different motel rooms -- some with running water, some without. Food was a rarity. But watching their mother and father do needles was commonplace.
Cheyene refused to let the cycle continue. Now 22 years old, she put all of her energy and focus into bringing her sister’s children into her home, where she could guarantee they would be together, well-loved and properly cared for. It took years for the adoptions to go through. In that time, Cheyene spent her own time and money gathering the resources she needed to obtain custody of her niece and nephews. All of her efforts eventually paid off – Cheyene, who graduated from nursing school last spring, currently has all five children in her custody and care.
Cheyene is the embodiment of what pure love is. She was able to provide the stability and grace that her niece and nephews had never known before. And her efforts have not gone unrewarded. This past year, her family has been fed and nurtured by an anonymous source who purchased a car, groceries, and provided support to Cheyene and her family through the For Love of Children organization. The person, who has chosen to remain anonymous, is an example of the generosity in our world.
For Love of Children, also known as FLOC, is a 100% non-profit organization that serves over 6,000 Dayton-area children who are neglected, abused, in foster care, or who are in need of community resources. FLOC has 12 programs that offer support to families like Cheyene's.
It's because of donations, both anonymous and not, that the organization is able to create new perspectives for the children they are fortunate enough to help. Through FLOC and its compassionate volunteers and donors, local children and their families are given the hope that people do care, that lives matter, and that they are cherished.
It's with these donations that FLOC also is able to support events, like the recent Anti-Bullying Rally that was held on Aug. 25 at Welcome Stadium. The event's purpose was to help bring more awareness to bullying -- a problem as rampant as heroin in the Miami Valley. The rally provided resources and education to the nearly 800 people who attended. Too many children have been lost to suicide, as a result of bullying, and FLOC, along with several local organizations, is taking a stand against it.