Yellowstone Public Radio-Youth Advocates Team Up On Pilot Program

Youth Advocates Team Up On Pilot Program

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Young man works on homework
CREDIT PAUL FISHER / FLICKR

Three youth advocacy groups in Yellowstone County are pooling their resources.

Tumbleweed, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County, and the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch are in the first few months of a pilot program.

They’re helping connect children with adults best suited to their needs. Ideally, the adult will help guide the child over an extended period of time, or however long is necessary.

Erika Willis is the executive director of Tumbleweed, a non-profit that helps homeless or otherwise at-risk youth. She said one goal is to provide kids with someone they feel comfortable turning to.

“Because they’ve developed that relationship, and they start to know my tummy feels weird or I had a weird day, and I know I can talk to someone about this and take the pressure off,” said Willis.

Willis said, in a situation like that, the child could come to an adult to get to the root problem early, instead of adults having to step in when they notice poor grades or missed classes.

“That’s another example of let’s get in front of this before it blows up,” she said.

One central goal is to help the three organizations combine resources and manpower. Brian Dennis is President of the Boys and Girls Club of Yellowstone County.

“This is the three of us putting everybody in the room together to try and figure out how we best utilize each other’s skillset,” said Dennis.

At this point, the three non-profits are working with the Boys and Girls Clubs students at the Lockwood Schools campus with funds from the Montana Healthcare Foundation.

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