Life is not always a clear and simple path to gaining education, marriage, and starting a family but throughout Montana HRDC offers support so that communities can continue to build strength and individuals and families find economic stability. This is true for Billings’ native, Lili, who found herself in an unstable circumstance that resulted in homelessness. This is when she entered our Harmony House Program, transitioning into her own apartment through the Harmony House Transition in Place Program in May 2021, being the first in four years to graduate from the program.

Harmony House provides services such as teaching soft skills, providing residence, paying off-campus rental related bills, obtaining employment, therapy and other services to pregnant and parenting mothers ages 16-21 and their children. Lili did not do all of this just for herself, rather she dedicated herself to this program as a way to improve the world her daughter will grow into. Her case manager shares, “Lili has worked extremely hard during her time in the program to prevent her daughter from having a tumultuous upbringing like she, herself, had. I can say with confidence that Lili has ended the cycle of generational trauma for herself and for Merigold.”

When asked about Merigold’s name, Lili shared the wonderful story of finding her companion in Merigold as reason to keep going, and make large improvements. Some of the criteria included the name being vintage, a flower name that started with M, and seven to eight letters long that can be shortened to a nickname. The Harmony House program relieved Lili of the burdens of what was happening around her like her living situation and financial hardship while she was pregnant with Merigold.

This program, Harmony House Transition in Place, assists in building a strong community bond with other young mothers living in similar situations to each other. Lili influenced other mothers in the program through her positivity, work ethic, and supporting each other. For those who are in the program or those who find themselves in a similar situation, Lili wants to share, “I hands down recommend this program for anyone that wants to better themselves and get out of their negative situation. It is an opportunity to get yourself back on your feet and better yourself. The program really is what you make of it.”

Our case managers work alongside many community members working through different things, our staff congratulates Lili for her massive step towards a healthy future, “Watching Lili’s progress through this program and the process of her becoming a wonderfully attentive, engaged, active parent has been hugely impactful for many of her peers. Playing a very small part in Lili’s very big journey has been such a joy and I cannot wait to see where this young lady is headed. I’m immensely proud of Lili,” as we all are.

Lili wants to share her story with others as it offers an opportunity to better other people’s lives and provides proof that even when it seems like things do not get better, there is always room for improvement.

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