RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – For too many troubled kids, life is no day at the playground; family pressures, school conflicts can trigger anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide.
At the Virginia Treatment Center for Children. Kids 3 to 17 with serious emotional and behavioral issues get intense therapy, most spend several days in the acute care psychiatric program. Gladys Burrus spent decades, teaching daily living skills.
"It was a joy in my life for 42 years, don't tell them but I would have done it without pay," Gladys said.
We met Gladys and her husband Daniel at the little MCV Park across from the treatment center. She admits she's always had a tender heart for kids in turmoil.
"I think you can never make as much of a difference as when someone's in crisis, and when you do something for a child you do it for them for the rest of their lives, because we never forget our childhood," she said.
Gladys has never forgotten her kids, her family she calls them. She's always taking them something. Much needed clothing or her homemade cakes.
"I'm famous for my carrot cakes," she said.
Today she's adding a dash of cash.
Sabrina Squire: "I have 100, 200, 300 dollars to pass on."
Gladys Burrus: "Thank you very much. Thanks to Channel 12 for doing this kind of thing."
We don't have to go far to dole it out. The center is just a few steps away on North 10 Street. Once inside we don't have to wait long before Gladys sees a familiar face.
"There's Traynham," Gladys exclaimed.
And she seizes the moment to pay it forward.
Gladys Burrus: "You know they have an Act of Kindness on Channel 12 and they give you $300 and within an hour you need to give it to someone who needs it and course the VA Treatment Center is my heart."
William Traynham: "Oh wow."
Gladys Burrus: "So I chose to give it to the treatment center. Okay so this is a donation so that our kids can get some of the things they need."
William Traynham: (hugging her) "Well they will enjoy it. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you for the kids and all…"
Gladys Burrus: "You know where my heart is."
William Traynham: "I know it, after all these years."
Gladys Burrus: "Yes."
Like Gladys, William has also logged 40 plus years here. He says the reason is simple, "to see a child come in and go out happy."
Gladys recalls turning clouds into rainbows, like the traumatized 16-year-old who came in on a stretcher, unresponsive.
"To not even have speech, doing absolutely nothing, bedridden, not feeding themselves or anything and leaving here and going back to high school. I've seen miracles happen, so you get addicted to miracles," said Gladys.