Women prepare to tell life stories at Maryhurst's Journey of Hope Luncheon


by Melissa Swan


Posted on May 9, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Updated Friday, May 9 at 5:42 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Annie Locke is a well-known Louisville fitness instructor. She’s also a runner, a cyclist and she just opened a new Pure Barre exercise studio in East Louisville. While she’s teaching a class, Annie is focused and in control. It’s a far cry from the life she knew as a child.

In a recent interview, Locke told me, “You don’t really know what someone has gone through. On the outside, everything looks perfect, but on the inside, it’s not."

Growing up in West Virginia, Annie’s life was filled with fear and abuse. Her mother was a severe alcoholic and her father was seldom in their home.

“She (mom) would take me to the grocery store and forget me, just forget me. She forgot me several times.”

The more her mother drank, the more abusive she became.  At one point, she fired a gun at Annie. “She didn't know what she was doing," Annie said. "She never knew what she was doing.”

At 13, Annie and her 15-year-old brother were living on their own.

“My brother and I lived in a house by ourselves for two years without anyone knowing," she said. "We were always so afraid someone was going to come and separate us.”

On May 15, Locke will make a bold move. She’ll stand before hundreds of people at Maryhurst’s Journey of Hope Luncheon to tell her story.

“Are they going to look at me differently? Absolutely. Are they going to judge? Absolutely . . . but I'm ready for that because I really want to help these girls,” she said.

Rose Meeks is one of those girls. When Rose arrived at Maryhurst in the 1980’s, she’d been on the streets, in jail and filled with rage from years of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her stepfather.

“I was a bad kid when I got here," Meeks said. "They (Maryhurst) probably should have thrown me completely away.  Most people did and they didn't.”

Despite their tragic beginnings, both women have a positive message. They say a place like Maryhurst can make a difference.

“They loved me. They didn't give up on me and they care," Meeks said.

“It believes in second chances and 3rd and 4th and 5th," Locke said. "I believe in that and that’s why I’m telling my story."

Meeks will soon earn her bachelor’s degree and help other troubled young women.

“I’ll be the one that makes a difference in their life one day,” she said with a smile.

For more information on Maryhurst, click here.