family

Finally Home

Felicia Burg overcomes homelessness to lend a hand to others facing the same struggles Trudging across freshly fallen snow, 36-year-old Felicia Burg walks to a place that pulls her back to a dark spot in her past. “No one could see you,” Felicia says as she points out the 3-by-3-foot landing perched on the backside…

Creating a Legacy of Love

Billings Family adopts assisted living facility as “extra” grandparents As Julie Mavencamp knocks gently on Jim Bertrand’s door, she calls out, “Hi, Jim, we’re here to see you!” As the 95-year-old makes his way to greet the Mavencamp family, Julie’s sons, Kayden, 9, and Peyton, 7, are already jumping up and down, barely able to…

Filling Cole’s Pantry

Cole Pelican’s memory lives on to help feed the hungry By all accounts, 8-year-old Cole Pelican — with his blond, tousled hair and a sparkle in his eye — was a larger than life kid who loved youth rodeo, enjoyed riding horses and spending time on his family’s farm. He was a ranch kid through…

Spunky & Social

Meet 11-year-old Maleaha It takes less than a minute for 11-year-old Maleaha to warm up to folks she doesn’t know. But be warned, she could be mid-sentence and if she sees someone across the way who she knows, she will stop everything just to say, “hi.” As we visit about what feeds her soul, she…

Inspired Learning for 25 years

A walk through Home Science Tools history Walking with a visitor through the front office of Home Science Tools, a Billings-based business she co-owns with her husband, Debbie Schaner pauses just inside the entrance to their 26,000-square-foot warehouse. “It still amazes me every time I come in,” she says. “I’m just amazed. Like, how did…

The Heart Gallery’s Kenny

A teen with a sense of humor and a can-do spirit If you ask 14-year-old Kenny what makes him a standout kid, he’ll sit back, point his finger and jump right in. “What makes me special is my unique ability to make anyone smile,” Kenny says. “I can talk to a grumpy man and after…

Artsy & Kind

The Heart Gallery’s 10-year-old Kenzie If you sit down with 10-year-old Kenzie, it doesn’t take long for her personality to shine. “If someone has a pencil, I’ll just start drawing,” she says as she flips open an empty page on her favorite sketch book. “I like drawing. I like drawing cats that are people.” After…

The Heart Gallery’s Helen

A teen with a smile that can light up a room  Editor’s Note: The Heart Gallery is an ongoing feature and partnership with Rimrock Mall to give a voice to those children waiting for a loving adoptive family of their own. Visit Rimrock Mall to see the Heart Gallery, with continually changing photos of adoptable…

Spunky Sarah

Fun-loving kid just wants a forever family Spunky. Loving. Fun. Those are three words used to describe 11-year-old Sarah, a freckle-faced strawberry blonde with smiling eyes who would love nothing more than a stable family life. She’s been in the foster care system for four years and that, social workers say, is just too long….

Heart Gallery: Meet Jon

A teen who has been searching far too long for a forever family Imagine being put in foster care before you even hit kindergarten. Imagine multiple placements over the years, several of which turn out to be group homes. Eight years pass and you’re still falling asleep at night wondering if you’ll ever find a…

Meet He’Lena

A smart, outgoing, funloving teen in search of a forever family When you meet 14-year-old He’Lena, it doesn’t take long to see what’s behind this sweet teen. She’s not only smart and motivated, she’s outgoing and, according to her foster family, “loves to be the entertainer.” You’d never know the trials she’s already faced in…

Out of the Box Education

How escape room style games are finding their way into the classroom Walking into Katy Lefler and Michael Thomas’ science class at Ben Steele Middle School is like stepping into an adventure. Kids are huddled over sheets of paper with a few large and small locked boxes in front of them. As the noise of…

Be the Lighthouse

Navigating the waters of the teenage years Being a teenager isn’t easy. It’s a slippery ledge between childhood and adulthood as teens lean out and into the risks and privileges of the grown-up world. Being the parent of a teenager can seem just as treacherous, a balancing act between holding the baby you’ve known forever…

Meet Tara

A sporty & smart teen longing for a ‘Forever Family’ With a sparkle in her eye, it doesn’t take long to realize that 14-year-old Tara has spunk and drive. She’s also a kid who wears her heart on her sleeve. As one of nine kids, this teen is currently living in a group home, hoping…

Hitting the Motherlode

The summer we shared our backyard and a whole lot more There is nothing I love more than a little adventure. It’s the precise reason why my husband and I ended up with two strangers camping in our backyard, eating watermelon on the patio one Fourth of July.   This story begins with my decision…

A Crisis in Care

The staggering statistics involving kids in foster care On any given day, most social workers in our region look at the rising caseload that sits on their desks. Many carry three times the number of cases that is ideal. Workers oversee anywhere from 40 to 60 cases at a time, trying to make sure each…

A Part-Time Job in Love

The toll family caregiving can take It may have been upwards of four decades ago, but Kathie Burke still vividly remembers getting the panicked call from emergency workers. Her grandfather, Charlie, had become disoriented and instead of backing his truck out of the garage, he hit the gas, sending the half-ton vehicle careening through the…

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