Intermountain - Caring Solutions, Strong Families, Healthy Communities

Eight-year-old’s Christmas Turns Out Merry

Two days before Christmas, Providence Home staff got a call from a social worker asking if they could take in an eight-year-old girl. There was space available, so staff quickly made arrangements to take her in and get her a place to stay. Since we can’t identify the girl, we’ll call her “Molly”.

Molly’s mom had pulled her out of school and the school became concerned when they saw she wasn’t re-enrolled anywhere else. They made a call to the police because they knew Molly didn’t have the healthiest home life. Several actions and circumstances took place that led to charges and Molly came to Providence Home. Molly’s father is deceased.

Because it was December 23rd, Providence Home staff immediately began thinking about how they could help her celebrate Christmas. Intermountain has to carefully plan every expense at Providence Home, so cash was not on hand to just go buy Christmas presents for Molly. A call was made to Julie Keyes, the Store Manager at Wal-Mart in
Kalispell, asking for a couple of toys that could be given an eight-year-old girl. Julie didn’t even hesitate, and she said “come to the store in a couple hours and I’ll have some things picked out for her”. When staff arrived to pick up the gifts, Julie had filled up a shopping cart with toys. She far exceeded expectations, and the extra gifts will be used for birthday gifts throughout the year.

When she arrived at Providence Home, Molly was dirty because she didn’t bathe regularly and she was manipulative of staff because she didn’t trust adults. She was up all hours of the night because she was not used to restful, regular sleep. But after a very short time, she looked like a different girl. “She came in dirty, anxious and not sleeping, now she is clean, relaxed and rested,” noted Berni McDonald, Program Manager for Providence Home.

At the end of the Holiday break, Intermountain staff got Molly re-enrolled in school at her old school and transported her every day. The District Secretary marveled at the change in Molly: “she is doing so well, she glows”. The school was complimentary of Providence Home, saying “the whole staff there has been so wonderful. When Molly sees them she just gets so excited.”

Molly spent about a month at Providence Home before she was placed in foster care. One of the first questions she had when she got her placement was whether she would have to change schools again, since she had endured so many changes in her life. The bus can’t pick her up from so far away, and her foster mom can’t drive her that far, so the staff at the school offered to drive her to and from school every day. They recognized the need for consistency and did whatever they could to keep her enrolled there.

Molly was asked what she would want if she could have three wishes. After short deliberation, she said she wants to be with her mom, she wants a black kitten, and she wants her mom to be well. Not a million dollars, not a sports car, and not ten more wishes. She, like so many of the other children Intermountain works with, just wants what most children take for granted. She wants a normal life.

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