Teri Kendle was born in Sacramento, California, in the winter of 1965. Her birth mother decided to put her up for adoption and she prepared for that adoption and wanted her to be with a beautiful family and she was. Alvin Kendle had been discharged from the U.S. Army just a few years prior. He and his wife Louise (née Nunley) Kendle struggled with trying to conceive for years. It was in 1964 that they decided to adopt a child.
But the Kendles saw her and instantly knew this was the daughter they were always meant to have in life. She would be their only child.
The Kendles raised Teri in a middle-class neighborhood of Sacramento called Oak Park. Louise was a maid, and Alvin worked at a local Ford dealership, while later changing careers to the electrical field. Alvin & Louise also opened a neighborhood grocery store on 4th Avenue, Kendle’s Market. Teri was raised around love and compassion, and a large adopted family. She was also instilled with a strong worth ethic early on in her development.
Things weren’t always rosy though. By age four, a friend of the family had taken advantage of Teri, and molested her. This continued between family members, and friends of the family for the next six years. Through all of that, Teri maintained good grades through school and graduated in 1982. By the next year, she had met and married a young man that she stayed married to for the next dozen years.
Through a very rocky marriage, Teri faced physical and mental abuse. After her divorce to escape the situation, a hard lesson was learned when her next relationship with a man she knew in school started to abuse her as well. That relationship ended after seven long years.
As her parents grew older, Teri turned her attention back to her family and her parents. Her father would pass in 1991, and in his last months on this earth, Teri became his caregiver. Her mother passed in 2005, and Teri was there to care for her in her last days, as well.
In 2004, Teri became pregnant by her then boyfriend, and Imani Simone Kendle-Ward was born. Imani is the last principle in Kwanzaa and means Faith. Little did she knew how much that name would become part of her life. The elation of finally having her own child was quickly tempered when she realized Imani was born with Down Syndrome. But always up for the task at hand, instead of giving up her child - as her birth parents did - Teri leaned into learning all she could about Down Syndrome, and how it would affect her child.
To this day, Teri has sought to educate people on Down Syndrome and to remove the stigma around it. Through an online organization that puts the focus on children of color that are missing. She also developed a heart for missing children and missing people in general, and it has become her life’s work.
That is how Village of Faith came to be. Imani is not only her daughter's name, and the namesake of this site, but imani is also the seventh principle of Kwanzaa. Imani means 'faith', and the seventh Kwanzaa principle says, "To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle."
Be sure to read Teri’s blog about the missing, prophetic dreams, current social events, and more.