When Child Protective Services took Ivy away from her mother with a “no contact” order Ivy found herself in foster care-- her resentment growing bigger in every new home.
“As a foster youth, I’ve had some bad experiences….During my childhood I developed a fear of abandonment,” wrote Ivy. “... I have a lot of resentment and anger towards my parents for making me this way and for always letting me down when I needed them most.”
When she was 14, she went to California to live with her her father and his wife, who wanted nothing to do with the broken-spirited teenager in their home. They eventually sent her back to Idaho with nowhere to go.
“I honestly don’t know where I would have gone without Hays,” she said. “I expected to be there just a couple of weeks and wound up staying more than a year,” she said.
Today, Ivy is on the cusp of her 18th birthday, and her life could not be more different than when she arrived at Hays.
“My ‘aha’ moment was about relationships and having self-respect. They taught me to know my worth and decide to gauge my relationships on people’s actions and not their words. I learned to see my true worth.”
While she was at Hays, Ivy discovered volunteer work and has earned more than 200 hours of volunteer time with the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. In her time there, she has organized fundraisers which raised enough to cover the cost of surgery for an injured fireman. At 16, Ivy won the Mayor’s Youth Award for her service.
“Volunteering is about making those connections in the community and seeing the goodness in people.”
Ivy is one of 8 alumni to be awarded an Idaho Youth Ranch scholarship and is attending Boise State University this year to study wildlife biology, so she can pursue her dream of becoming a fire behavior analyst for the NIFC, National Interagency Fire Center.
“I’m just really grateful to you [donors] that I have the opportunity to defy the statistics. There are not a lot of foster kids who go on to college and in Idaho a lot don’t even graduate high school,” Ivy said. “Thank you for the fun times [at Hays] and for giving me somewhere safe to go. I don’t know what I would have done.”
In her scholarship essay, Ivy wrote, “I believe true happiness and being successful comes from doing the things you love by committing yourself one-hundred percent and never giving up, and that is how I plan to live my life.”