Youth program sees more need this holiday season

Hunter Herbaugh
Thursday, December 17, 2020
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Youth Dynamics Angel Trees can be found at Albertson’s and Reynolds. Hunter Herbaugh photo

Youth Dynamics is running their annual Angel Tree program again this year and has seen a lot more kids in need than in previous years. According to Angel Tree director Robin Stotler, the number of kids has doubled, from 82 last year to 162 this year.

The Angel Tree program started back in 2017 with the aim of providing gifts to kids in need during the holidays. It’s funded through a yearly donation of $500 that Youth Dynamics receives from Town Pump. The program provides for all kids in a family, Stotler explained, who request what they want via a tag on a small tree, which can be found at Albertsons and Reynolds Market. The program serves kids across Eastern Montana.

Stotler believes the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been the primary reason for the increased program enrollment. She noted that through the mental and behavioral health programs that Youth Dynamics also offers, she has seen a lot of kids express frustration and worry for their families due to the pandemic’s fallout.

“The mental health has just blown up. (The kids) are stressing in school, they’re stressing outside of school, they’re worried about their families and the reservations, we work on the reservations a lot and they’ve been hit so hard,” Stotler said.

Anyone can take a tag and provide the gift that is requested and for children whose tags aren’t taken,


Stotler noted the Town Pump donation is normally used to make sure that all kids get presents. However, she noted that the increase in kids in this year’s program has raised some concerns about covering those tags that aren’t filled.

To help cover any potential shortcomings, Stotler said Youth Dynamics is basically relying on wordof-mouth to get the information out about the program or that people can donate directly to the organization at any time.

In at least one instance, that message is being promoted by others as well. After sponsoring a child through the program and learning of the large amount of kids enrolled this year, local resident Bee Comer is reaching out to her friends and community to bring awareness to the issue. She has even volunteered to collect donations for Youth Dynamics.

“After hearing about the huge, unprecedented need Youth Dynamics has this year, I wanted to do more so all of our local families have the best holidays they can. I figured, like me, most people in Glendive weren’t aware of how great the need was, so I figured I would put the information out there and see what good would come of it,” Comer said.

So far, she said she has managed to raise $296 for Youth Dynamics, with donations coming from locals as well as some of her friends across the state and in places such as Arizona, Michigan and Minnesota.

Stotler said people have until Dec. 18 to pick a child to sponsor and deliver gifts. Gifts can be delivered wrapped or unwrapped to the Youth Dynamics office at 606 N. Merrill Ave. suite #2.

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“The mental health has just blown up. (The kids) are stressing in school, they’re stressing outside of school, they’re worried about their families ...”

Robin Stotler, Youth Dynamics Angel Tree director