"You dont get anywhere until you start from the bottom, so thats where I feel like I started from the bottom," former Godby track star Kia Andrews said.
Godby's Kia Andrews is headed to Coffeeville Junior College (KS) on a track scholarship. Her journey has been anything but a simple lap around the track.
Originally from Massachussetts, Kia along with her two brothers and mother, were bouncing around from place to place. They wound up in Tallahssee.
Once in town, Kia made a decision that changed her life.
"School was coming up and I needed some clothes for school and I had no job and no way of getting them so every teenager makes some mistakes and does something crazy and so I went to the closest store which was Burlington Coat Factory and I went to try and steal some clothes which I was not good at and I got caught immediately," Andrews said.
Her mom didnt bail her out of jail, instead made her spend the night.
"It was horrible, because I was scared out of my mind and I just remember crying the whole time. I couldn't eat, I was cold and couldn't sleep and I just wanted to go home," Andrews said.
The next morning her mom came and got her, but Kia wasn't ready for whats next. Kia was told her mom and brothers were headed to North Carolina, and she wasnt welcome.
Just like that Kia was homeless.
"I was just heartbroken but I feel like I was just paying, receiving consequences for what I did," Andrews said.
Imagine being an 18 year old girl, unfamiliar with the area, you're on your own for the very first time, where do you go?
Where do you start walking?
"It's hard for me to talk about it," Andrews said.
Thanks to a kind stranger Kia wound up with bus fare. Still unsure of where to spend the night, by strange luck she wound up at the homeless shelter but thats when things took a turn for the worse.
"This guy that was living at teh shelter he had recently said he had seen a girl get gang raped by they shelter and they were talking about targeting me nextand so he actually cried and poured his heart out to Pastor Glen and Ms. Beth and they took me in immediately that day," Andrews said.
Thanks to her guardian angels, Kia now called the Chelsea House home. She could finally feel safe and get a good nights rest.
"The Good Samaritan in the Bible tells us that's what we are supposed to do when somebody is beaten down by life and they are kind of left by the roadside of life, they are like in the ditch, we are supposed to reach out and help, pull them out of that, give them a new life, give them opportunities that they wouldn't otherwise had," Chelsea House Director Beth Burns said.
"I feel like God sent them to rescue me, they are like my second parents," Andrews said.
Where would you be without them?
"Back at the shelter doing something I regret right now," Andrew said.
Going to a new school is never easy, Kia quickly made friend who is now more like a sister.
"I guess she's not like a person that would be stubborn in any type of way to not want any help from anybody, so when we started to let her come into our family she was willing she was very happy and she really enjoyed the time she spent with us," former Godby classmate Jasomine Crump said.
More angels continue to look over Kia. Her track coach called everyone he knew. Determined to find a college that would offer Kia a scholarship.
"I'm 40 years old, I've been coaching for 20 years and I've never had a story like this come across my lap. It breaks my heart. I grew up with a mother and a father, I have three siblings, I have two children now, it hurts me to think that a child that young would just be wandering the street, has no where to go," Godby Girls Track Coach Chervon Screen said.
What is Coach like to you?
"Coach is like a father figure. Coach Red, he's I have no idea how to explain him," Andrews said.
"Coaching is different. It's not about money, it's about what we do for the kids and knowing Kia's story, just watching her work ethic here, she was just a great athlete and a great talent. I didn't want to see that go to waste," Screen said.
Andrews could have ran from her troubles.
"No more like running to the future. I feel like I'm headed toward great things. The future is bright and Im running to it and I'm trying to run as fast as I can to get there," Andrews said.