Donny’s Story

February 4, 2011


During this cold February month, we wanted to share this story from our Fall Newsletter to warm your hearts.

It’s once again autumn in St. Louis, and the vibrant oranges and reds, the smells of pumpkin pie spice and wood smoke, seem to quicken the pulse.  The anticipation in the air is infectious: Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner.  And if you peek into some special windows this week, you’ll find “Donny” and his foster mom, elbow deep in the sticky task of making Halloween cupcakes.

We recently received a letter of gratitude from this foster mom, and she spoke glowingly of the happy little boy who calls her “Aunt Marge.”

It was just a year ago this October that Donny, his little sister, and his mother were living in a 24-hour White Castle in mid-town St. Louis, breathing the overpowering aroma of steamed onions and staring at the stark black and white squares of White Castle decor. It didn’t take long before the family’s plight was discovered, the children were hustled off in the chilly night air to foster care, and the mother was admitted to a treatment center.

However, home is where mother is, and Donny could not get over the loss of his “home.”

Despite a loving foster family and a warm bed, he was distraught. He dealt with his trauma by shutting down and shutting out.  He reverted to baby talk, bit everyone in sight, and was fiercely protective of his little sister. After a few very frustrating weeks of dealing with his behavior, his foster mom brought him to Family Resource Center’s Therapeutic Preschool/Day Treatment Program.

Marge says, with amazement, that Donny stopped biting “just like that” when “FRC embraced him.”  There is some kind of magic that descends on kids when caring teachers and therapists acknowledge their loss and their pain, and Donny was no exception.  For the first time in his life he looked at picture books, played with toys, and learned the wonders of structure and cleanliness.

Now, a year later, Marge says Donny is talking so fast his teachers have to tell him to slow down.

“He just bubbles over with joy,” she says.  “FRC made a remarkable person out of him.”

Come autumn, we seem to have a homing instinct, an urge to gather around a family table or fireplace.  This year, Donny and his sister have found a place at a very warm and loving table.  Family Resource Center helped make that possible and continues to do so for other little children.  Marge says she wishes Donny could have stayed at Family Resource Center longer, but “I knew some other child should have his space.”