When Chris arrived at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, he literally had nothing but the clothes on his back. Chris is an Alaska Native youth that had been bounced around the foster care system his entire life. Because of his mental health struggles, he was never able to find a forever home. “I felt so unloved and unwanted. Everything I ever got was second hand. I was an afterthought and that only made my struggles worse. I didn’t have anything that was just mine and that wouldn’t just go away when I was moved on to another place,” recalls Chris.
“That all changed within hours of arriving at YBGR. During my admission, I was given a handmade quilt, my first ever new piece of bedding that was mine. Then my Program Manager got my sizes, and we went online. She ordered me a bunch of new clothes, a pair of shoes, and boots since it was winter. I had never been clothes shopping before, just watched others. She went and picked it all up later that day at the store and told me that I get to keep it all. I cried that night. I could not believe that someone gave money to the Ranch just so I could have something all my own to wear. There is something different about this place. I now feel that I have worth and that is helping me to heal.”
*For the privacy of the youth served at the Ranch, names have been changed. Image(s) shown here are a representation of those served at the Ranch.