Odell is a twelve-year-old girl with a rare health condition requiring costly medication, diet and exercise under close medical supervision. Before she arrived at Neve Michael with her four sisters, the unusual state of affairs that characterized her childhood left no room for health concerns. In fact, Odell’s formative years were so abnormal that no one in her world paid attention to her special medical needs.
Odell’s father, now serving a 26-year prison term, was the leader of a cult incorporating seven wives and all of their children. One of the women ran away and alerted the police of the goings-on inside the cult. The women and their families had been held against their will in an atmosphere of sexual degradation and drug and alcohol consumption. While the women were forced to participate in sex orgies the children languished in unsanitary and sub-human conditions as they were maltreated, poorly clothed, verbally abused, beaten and starved. The children were not allowed to attend school or make any contact with the outside world. It seemed to them as though their nightmarish childhood would go on forever until the authorities intervened and put an end to it.
When Odell was delivered to the Neve Michael Emergency Crisis Center in the dead of night along with her traumatized sisters, the physical and emotional damage to these girls was so severe that Odell’s rare health problem paled in comparison.
The horror that these girls went through is inestimable. But now, after three years in the Children’s Village, the girls, with the help of our caring professional staff, are mending the fragments of their shattered youth. They are attending school, interacting with other children at risk and making friends for life. In supervised therapy sessions, they are coming to grips with their lost childhood years and are learning that the real world has something better to offer them. Surrounded by love and kindness from their teachers, counselors and supportive new friends, Odell and her sisters can now experience the joys of teenhood and look forward to growing up.