December 9, 2019
Krystal’s life started the way many foster youths’ do. Her parents divorced before she was one, taking her birth dad out of the picture. Upon coming home from school one day, 5-year-old Krystal found her mom unconscious from a brain aneurysm. Paralyzed, her mother was unable to care for Krystal, so they moved in with her grandparents. At 11, Krystal was sexually abused by her grandfather. She and her mom moved to Krystal’s aunt’s house. When Krystal’s mom became increasingly dependent on her daughter, Krystal entered foster care.
Initially, Krystal bounced from group home to foster home, and by age 13, her inner turmoil manifested into rebellion. Krystal was running away, skipping school, and drinking underage. She spent multiple weekends in juvenile hall, eventually receiving a two month sentence. After serving her time, Krystal entered Koinonia’s Homes for Teens (HFT) program. Some of her experiences at HFT are captured in the following letter:
Krystal transitioned to live with a foster family and simultaneously began a relationship with her biological dad. Her foster family realized her dad was unsafe, and asked Krystal to keep her distance. Although she respected her foster parents, Krystal continued to keep in contact with him. Once again, Krystal was sexually abused by a man whom she trusted. She kept the abuse secret, and unfortunately the foster placement did not work out for the long-term.
At 17, Krystal was released into the care of her biological dad. Upon turning 18, she moved out to escape the abuse. After several violations of his restraining order, Krystal’s father was arrested. On that day, Krystal was finally forced to confront her pain; she called her former Koinonia social worker, Michelle Chandler, who drove two hours to be with her.
Krystal took a year off from college to intern at her old church in Roseville, while grieving her past and doing the hard work of healing. After the internship, she graduated from UC Berkeley’s School of Business. Krystal got a job at Kaiser, working her way up to the position she currently holds as an IT Business Operations Consultant. Believing whole-heartedly in the life-changing power of Koinonia’s programs, Krystal has given back in several capacities. She has spoken at various events, and donated generously to Koinonia of her time and resources. As of February of this year, Krystal officially became a member of Koinonia’s Executive Board of Directors, coming full circle in her journey.