Changing One Life in Richfield

Editor’s note:

This is a story about the remarkable impact a foster mom had on a child in her care, as seen through the eyes of Madeline Lee, Special Services Coordinator for Sevier School District in Richfield.

In life, we all have the opportunity to make a difference. In today’s society it seems like the world is lacking compassionate people and a genuine concern for others. This year, my hope in this world has been restored by the example of a foster mother. I had never met Holly Jensen until the day she came into my office to speak with me about her new foster placement, a young girl with autism. Holly wanted to make sure that the new school her child would attend was ready for her and knew how to handle her special needs.

Holly didn’t know a lot about autism, but planned to treat this child like she treated her own; with expectation, understanding, and love. I appreciated the concern and assertive efforts of a foster mom going out of her way to make sure her child’s needs were met. This was the first experience Holly had being the foster mom of a child with autism. Little did she know her kindness and compassion would make a significant difference in the life of this little girl. You see when this child arrived at Holly’s home; she was non-verbal, threw fits and didn’t know how to cope with challenging situations in her life.

What I witnessed over the next five months with this little girl was simply remarkable. Not only did she learn to speak and carry on a conversation with others, but she also picked up on beginning reading skills. She began to read simple books at school and imitated the other students. Her ability to transition and cope in her life improved immensely.

In this short time period, Holly’s family had given this little girl more than she had ever had. Holly loved this little girl the way she loved her own kids, who would “look out” for her at school and were happy to claim her as their sister.

The transformation I observed in this little girl gives me hope in the world. There are still those amazing individuals out there who give of themselves to others, to make the world a better place. I am in awe of what an amazing job Holly and her family has done with this little girl! I am grateful that people like this family exist and are contributing to the goodness in the world. The world needs more people like this who are willing to make a difference in the life of a child and forever change the outcome.