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Positively Montana: Great Falls childcare room gets makeover

AFY Childcare Room.png
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 18:33:30-05

GREAT FALLS — There's a rainbow of changes at the Alliance for Youth’s Childcare Room in Great Falls. Along with her good friend, a Great Falls teen who loves donating her time and resources to the center is responsible for the transformation.

Great Falls High School freshmen Iris Moore and Kendra Little are making a difference in children’s lives.

When the Alliance for Youth wanted to update its childcare room, or kid’s zone as it’s known, Iris put her love for crafting and passion for volunteering to work.

“We walked in and it was kind of looking a little grumpy in here, not so inviting,” said Moore. “So, we thought we'd spark it up with some color and make it fun for the kids.”

“Since the day we've opened, Iris has always had a heart for her peers,” said Alliance for Youth Executive Director Kristy Pontet-Stroop. “She has made blankets for the kids down in our Youth Resource Center. She's created birthday kits.”

Kristy Pontet-Stroop, Alliance for Youth

“I've always loved painting, so I thought that would be fun,” said Little. “And then we just did some other stuff around the room.”

Working after school and on a weekend, Iris and Kendra painted a rainbow on the wall. They organized games and art supplies and revamped the reading material.

“We got the bookshelf in rainbow color because it's easier for a kid to spot their color and learn their colors,” said Moore. “So, if they get a book, they know where to put it back. Now it's not just a mess of books.”

The pair added a light, a rainbow-colored clock and a pair of pint-sized basketball hoops. They even gave the kids a new outlook.

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“Kristy said that the kids love to look at themselves in the mirror, so we added all these mirrors around it,” said Moore.

Isis Olson is the organization's Youth & Parent Emotional Health Program Manager. As someone who oversees parenting classes, she feels good about having a welcoming place for parents to drop off their little ones.

“I feel like this room now looks so inviting and so friendly that they're able to come to class and focus and not have to worry about their kids,” said Olson.

Isis’s kids, Adam, Everest and Augustus spend time with their mom at work and give the new look room rave reviews.

“I really like it,” said Everest. “I love all the games that it has and it's really fun.”

"It’s good to know that this room can be used better than it was before,” said Little.

“Just knowing that this was a gift from a youth to more youth and having that passed on just means even more,” said Pontet-Stroop.