April 23, 2024

Missoula Gives May 2-3, 2024

All Donations are Double Matched, up to $20,000!

Thanks to Scheels, BlueCross BlueShield of Montana, TDS, First Interstate Bank and an anonymous private donor, your donation will have double the impact.

Friends of the Children - Western Montana works to break generational cycles of poverty and trauma by pairing amazing children who have big hopes and dreams but who face the greatest obstacles with a long-term, paid professional mentor (a “Friend”) from kindergarten through high school graduation - for 12+ years, no matter what. Our 30-year-old program is evidence-based and proven to work:

  • 92% of youth who have gone through the program enroll in post-secondary education, serve our country, or enter the workforce with a living wage job.
  • 98% of youth wait to parent until after their teen years.
  • 93% of youth remain free from involvement in the juvenile justice system.
  • Preliminary research shows that children in the program spend a shorter period of time in foster care and re-enter foster care less often compared to children not in the program.

We do this work because too many children in Missoula are in crisis. Montana is second in the nation in the rate of children who have had adverse childhood experiences. The state has high rates of children in foster care, referrals for child abuse and neglect are nearly double the US average, and one in six children in the state experience food insecurity. Friends of the Children was invited to open a chapter in Missoula because our model has been proven to build brighter futures for children and end generational cycles of poverty and trauma.

Our superpower is developing deep, consistent, and loving relationships with children that foster positive social emotional health, build essential life skills, and help children find their spark. Each Friend works 1:1 with 8 youth, spending 4 hours of direct time with each child weekly. The time we spend with each child is very intentional – every child has an individualized developmental roadmap of goals focused on building a strong foundation of health, wellbeing, and academic success.

The commitment we make to each youth we serve doesn’t stop there. We also provide two generational support to our youth’s family, working with caregivers to develop greater understanding of the child’s needs and strengths, equipping caregivers with social and emotional learning skills and promoting self-advocacy through understanding of and support within systems related to housing, education, basic needs, and employment.

Further, we invest in our youth’s academic success. Our Education Specialist provides year-round support through 1:1 reading and math tutoring, STEM workshops, educational field trips and learning activities during our Summer Enrichment Program.

Consider supporting our mission to end generational cycles of poverty and trauma by donating during Missoula Gives 2024 or visiting our donation page.

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