Montana Treasure: Local pediatrician turns missionary trip into a full year of giving

GREAT FALLS- A practicing pediatrician for more than two decades, Dr. Jill Bolstad always wanted to give her time to the less fortunate.

It's something many people aspire to do, but for Dr. Bolstad, her recent trip to Guatemala changed more than just her outlook on life.

Dr. Bolstad had every intention of going to Guatemala for a week to help the native people there learn more about hygiene and medical care. Instead, this Montana treasure left Central America with a new plan in mind.

Her mission didn't just revolve around medical care; it was about education as well. That's what made working with health talents international the perfect fit.

"These children couldn't even dream, but they've given these children hope, they've given them their dreams back," said Bolstad.

HTI's adopt-a-child program specifically works to break the cycle of poverty. Giving children the chance to have an education, medical care, and even clothing.

“Most of those people are uneducated, and then they work as day labors. So some days they have work, and some days they don't have work."

some of those laborers are children as young as 9 and 10. they drop out of school to help support their family.

"If someone could just finish school, you could get a better job, and break this cycle," said Bolstad.

Dr. Bolstad spent most of her time teaching people about how germs are transmitted, as well as showing people an easier way to get clean drinking water.

But her week-long mission didn't end in Central America, it was really just beginning for the Bolstad family.

"I decided instead of getting presents for our five grown children we sponsored each of them a child, and we're giving that to them for Christmas,” said Bolstad.

A Christmas gift that has every possibility of changing a child's life.

"Maria. She is a young gal who's 14, and she is in middle school at 14. That is quite uncommon. Most of them drop out before they enter middle school. She's super motivated. She wants to become a pediatrician. She sought me out, and we really hit off,” said Bolstad.

"I didn't have a destination in mind. I just knew that giving back to people that are less fortunate was something I wanted to do once my own children are grown,” said Bolstad.

Dr. Jill Bolstad a local pediatrician, a mother, a missionary and this weeks Montana Treasure.

This is just one of many organizations helping those in need.

If you'd like to sponsor a child yourself, you can click here.

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