The holidays are fast approaching and the Missouri Girls Town staff are determined to host a fabulous season for the girls that reside on campus. The Fulton Sun Newspaper drafted a wonderful article about this yearly process. Check it out!
Missouri Girls Town staff is asking supporters and the communities to help make its residents’ dreams come true.by Olivia Garrett Dec. 1 2020 @ 1:19amMissouri Girls Town serves as both a home and a therapeutic mental health center for young girls dealing with trauma, abuse and neglect. Photo by Olivia Garrett / Fulton Sun.
When the residents of Missouri Girls Town sit down to write their Christmas lists, they aren’t always sure how to ask for the gifts they’re dreaming about.
“Many girls don’t know how to ask for what they want — they’ll ask for chewing gum and new socks,” development director Stephanie Vollmer said.
Missouri Girls Town in Kingdom City serves as both a home and a therapeutic mental health center for up to 50 young girls dealing with trauma, abuse and neglect. Some aren’t used to receiving gifts or asking for anything for themselves.ADVERTISING
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“Every year the girls do struggle with being away from home,” Vollmer said.
To make the holidays enjoyable, Missouri Girls Town staff help residents come up with wishlists and asks supporters and the communities to help make those dreams come true.
“Our staff works with them to think about what they really enjoy,” Vollmer said. “In early October we visit with the girls and have them do a wishlist and pick at least 10 items. We do everything in our power to make sure every girl gets what they ask for.”
Supporters can check out the Amazon wishlist at a.co/1DVrn5b.
Puzzles, playing cards and board games are always on the list — examples include Rummikub, Headbands, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Clue, Life, Guess Who, Sorry, Trouble, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land and Mancala.
“We need more difficult puzzles — with 1,000 or more pieces — and games more specific to teenagers,” Vollmer said.
The items can be shipped straight to Girls Town, where staff will wrap the gifts — donations of wrapping paper are also accepted.
“We really feel the gifts need to be wrapped so they can feel the joy of unwrapping them like any other kid,” Vollmer said.
In the past, individual members of the community, churches and social organizations have pitched in.
As the day approaches, the anticipation at Girls Town is growing.
In early December, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will visit and each girl will have a photoshoot.
Also on the calendar is a movie night to give girls a taste of sleepovers, with pajamas, popcorn and fun socks.
On Christmas Eve, they’ll be able to pick one gift to unwrap — the rest of the gifts will have to wait until Christmas morning.
While visitors and volunteers haven’t been able to stop by campus over the past few months because of the pandemic, family visits —socially distant in-person and over technology — have gone on.
“We do encourage extra phone time and Facetime,” Vollmer said.
Some girls might spend multiple holiday seasons at Girls Town.
“We want to encourage them to have good memories of their time here,” Vollmer said.
Girls Town also welcomes monetary donations — a $100 donation could cover the cost of a therapeutic session. The average Girls Town resident has been through nine failed placements previously: foster care, other residential centers, hospitalization, living with relatives and failed adoptions. Many are in need of an environment that helps address emotional and behavioral disorders.
The organization also helps bring therapy to other children — the organization brings mental health professionals into schools in Montgomery and Callaway counties. The goal is to help children heal before the situation reaches a crisis stage.
Girls Town, like many other nonprofit organizations, receives most of its donations at the end of the year. But the organization hasn’t been able to help many of its fundraising events throughout the year and donation levels are down, Vollmer said.
Donations can be made by visiting missourigirlstown.org/donate.
“We want to be a resource for school districts, the county health departments and especially families,” Vollmer said.