TYLER, Texas (KETK) – KETK News is highlighting the ladies making big moves from Piney Woods. This week, we introduce you to a woman who provides a safe haven for young girls and gives them hope for a brighter future. 

Meet Lisa Ferguson of Tyler, the founder of Hope Haven of East Texas and the Forensic Nurse Coordinator at the Children’s Advocacy Center. 

“We take girls that other people don’t want to take, and we help them with hope and love and treatments so that they become where they can be placed or adopted,” said Lisa Ferguson. 

Before she started her nonprofit work, Ferguson was a trauma ICU and ER Nurse at ETMC in Tyler for 20 years. 

“Someone from the Child Advocacy called me and asked me if I would be interested in being a SANE nurse, which is sexual assault nurse examiner,” said Ferguson. “I had no idea that they would use nurse practitioners in that role.”

After joining the CAC, Ferguson realized she could give back to those with a similar upbringing. 

“I grew up in a really dysfunctional abusive home; I was removed from my home by CPS when I was 16,” said Ferguson.

However, Ferguson did not let her circumstances define her. In 2018, she opened Hope Haven of East Texas. 

“I wanted to forgive and to move forward and make a difference,” said Ferguson. “So that’s what I teach is don’t stay in your victimization.”

She devoted her life to helping children and teens in need. 

“They become homeless children right away out of out of foster system because they had no support,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson continued to support these young women even after they got out of the foster system at 18. 

“They aged out; they have nowhere to go,” said Ferguson. “And that’s what we try to do is provide that support, like a parent would, to get them on a track so that they can have a bright future.”

As her organization rapidly grows, she credits the Lord for giving her hope through all the hard times. 

“I chose God and His love over what I saw,” said Ferguson.

She also thanks East Texans for their support. 

“We couldn’t do it without community’s support, because all of this is nonprofit,” said Ferguson.

One person’s ‘yes,’ makes a difference. 

For more information on how you can help, visit the Hope Haven of East Texas website.