(Billings, Mont.) April 25, 2017 – Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch (YBGR) has been asked for advice on national policy regarding juvenile justice. Regularly, the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) consults organizations such as YBGR and the National Center for Youth Law to compile research, findings, and guidance which are consolidated and reported to the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention, and subsequently the President of the United States and Congress.
“It’s a great success for YBGR to be recognized as a national leader in the field of children’s mental health and juvenile justice,” said Mike Chavers, YBGR’s CEO.
Through a phone conference on April 21, Chavers presented to the FACJJ about juvenile justice and child welfare, detailing his recommendations, based upon experience in the field and knowledge of the juvenile justice system. Chavers discussed his previous work in the state of Illinois, his implementation of youth and community engagement approaches and the current work of YBGR to implement a coordinated continuum of services to obtain sustainable positive outcomes for youth.
He discussed the importance of educational and vocational training for youth, which has shown to significantly improve long-term outcomes and mitigate the costs of incarceration or other forms of support or welfare. He also emphasized the implementation of collaborative trainings and education on an ongoing basis, and increased enumeration for direct-care staff who work with youth.
Chavers input was well-received by the advisers and law practitioners that make up the FACJJ. Additionally, he was asked to continue communication and feedback as they look to develop and advance juvenile justice approaches and strategies on a federal level.
More information of the FACJJ and their Annual Reports can be found at: https://facjj.ojp.gov/annual-reports.
(Livingston, Mont.) April 4, 2017 – Livingston and surrounding area, join us this weekend, April 7 and 8, 2017 for the Empowered to Connect Conference Live Simulcast, hosted by YBGR in partnership with Child Bridge, Montana. In an effort to help equip families, churches and professionals to better serve children impacted by foster care and adoption, the conference will focus on the “Trust-Based Relational Intervention” methods as developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. Davis Cross from the TCU Institute of Child Development.
The event will be held at the Livingston Christian Center, 1400 Mount Baldy Drive in Livingston, MT 59047, Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. There will be a break for lunch on your own each day with an optional half-hour discussion time following lunch.
Workbooks for the Conference should be printed ahead of time by each participant from a link that will be provided to all who register.
Check out the event at:
Learn more about Child Bridge here: http://www.childbridgemontana.org/
(Billings, Mont.) March 31, 2017 – Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch (YBGR) is happy to name Terrill (Terry) Moore as a returning member of YBGR’s Board of Directors. Terry has served on the boards of both YBGR and YBGR Foundation, most recently serving at the Ranch from 2010 to 2015 and currently on the Investment Committee for YBGR Foundation.
“I learned a long time ago that when you serve, you need to serve where your passion is,” Moore said. “My heart goes out to children and those who are in such desperate need. This is a way that I can serve an organization that is helping them.”
Moore retired from First Interstate Bank (FIB) in July, 2014 following 35 years of service. Moore was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at FIB and provided financial oversight, including merger and acquisitions. He is currently the Board Chairman for Montana Family Foundation, and has previously served as a director at St. Vincent Health Care and on the boards of Montana Board of Investments, La Vie, and Billings West Rotary.
(Billings, Mont.) March 30, 2017 – Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch (YBGR) is expanding its services to children and families in Montana. Their Community Based Services (CBS) Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) program is expanding from locations in and around Billings and Livingston, Mont., to also include Dillon and surrounding area.
“We’re at the point where we want to grow the program,” said Charise Lemelin, YBGR’s CBS Clinical Director.
Lemelin said that she has a dream to acquire 15-20 foster care placements in the Dillon area. Funding for the program would create two new positions – a family resource specialist and a treatment manager.
“When you hear times of children in crisis having to sleep overnight in their social workers’ offices and in shelter care settings, or that current foster families are having to accept more kids into their homes than the recommended amount to keep kids safe, it speaks volumes to the need and crisis in this state,” said Kim Chouinard, YBGR’s Executive Director of CBS.
“If we have families ready to license, we can get started with families right now,” Lemelin said. “A piece of it, too, is having respite care available so that when foster families get stressed out or just need a weekend, it’s there for them.”
The organization serves 23 families between the Billings and Livingston locations and works with Child Bridge on programs which assist with TFC families.
“Part of this initiative is to create more placements in Livingston as well,” Lemelin said. “We know there is a need in Montana and we want to do our best to fill it.”
The first foster parent informational meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 19, from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Dillon Elementary School Board Room. Contact YBGR’s offices at 406-683-0416 in Dillon, or 406-222-6490 in Livingston for more information and upcoming pre-service dates.
Check out at article written by The Billings Gazette highlighting kids’ education of Youth Mental Health First Aid and the Heads Up Behavioral Health Careers Camp, sponsored in part by Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch.
Hey Jimmy Buffett fans! Do you like sand between your toes, good music, and a tasty burger? Check out Billings Metra Park’s “Salt on the Rims” event, happening Saturday, Mar. 11. The event will feature beachy, Jimmy Buffett style music, a warm, indoor temperature for your shorts and tank top, and tons of sand to squish between your toes. And better yet, a portion of tickets sold will benefit Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch!
So, if you’re sick of the cold and snow and feel like warming up your toes, check out tickets at http://www.metrapark.com/events/2017/salt-on-the-rims.
(Billings, Mont.) February 11, 2017 – Thanks to generous donors of the Yellowstone Foundation, Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch’s (YBGR) Young Life kids’ camp is back again! Kicking the day off with Club worship, Billings Young Life youth ministry had begun the first day of a three-day winter camp for YBGR youth. Close to 55 of the 65 residents in treatment at YBGR had attended the spiritual-based camp on the first day.
“This is the second time Young Life has been out to host a camp with our kids… and to see the kind of participation where nearly all of our kids want to be here… it’s awesome,” said John Dailey, YBGR’s Director of Spiritual Life.
Young Life volunteers providing entertainment for outside activities
The day began in chapel worship with Billings’ Young Life volunteer, worship team. Staff and kids sat, stood, danced, hugged, sang, and watched as the Young Life performers poured melodious, Christ-centered hymns and songs into the room.
“It’s amazing to see some of the most shy kids open up. Our kids have such diverse pasts of trauma, depression, anxiety, and just situational obstacles. To see them dancing and swinging around – just being kids— that’s the gift that the Spiritual Life program and this camp brings,” said Dailey.
The camp included evening entertainment from Dailey, Keith Dow (Billings Young Life Area Director), and camp volunteers. With weather in the 40’s, the kids participated in outdoor games like playing with a giant “Zorb” ball, knocking over giant “Jenga” blocks, and running in sled relays. They also participated in the rock wall, bowling, and much more. Sunday evening will end with an opportunity for youth to express personal devotion to Christ and an outdoor bonfire.
“As always, our partnership with Young Life is a blessing,” said Dailey. “The community involvement and growth in these kids’ personal relationships with individuals in the community and with Christ is what this is all about.”
(Billings, Mont.) February 9, 2017 – Yellowstone’s staff Training Center is up and running with new office equipment. A portion of a Cognitive Behavior Therapy grant provided in late 2016 by PacificSource Health Plans funded the new upgrades for the two staff on-boarding and training rooms. Totaling nearly $10,000, the new tables, chairs, and two televisions are needed upgrades for the rooms that were ready for new equipment.
“As the training coordinator for YBGR, I am thrilled to have new office equipment for staff to use,” said Jessica Rouix, YBGR’s Training Coordinator. “Having an environment that people want to spend time learning in makes the process much more enjoyable.”
(Billings, Mont.) February 3, 2017 – All staff of Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, Yellowstone Academy, and the Yellowstone Foundation received employee appreciation sweatshirts for the meaningful work they do for the youth of YBGR, living the mission each day. With over 220 staff members facilitating mental health services in Montana, staff work to provide youth, families, and communities we impact with a variety of treatment options.
“We are proud to ‘live the legacy’ of sixty years of caring,” said Mike Chavers, YBGR’s CEO.
(BILLINGS, Mont.) January 9, 2017 – The Robbie Chapel at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch (YBGR) will fill with the vibrant sound of music during a visit from the Billings Symphony. January 9, Monday afternoon from 1-2:30 p.m., YBGR kids will experience the symphony’s sophisticated classics, familiar Disney songs, and melodious tunes.
Candy Holzer of the Billings Symphony said that through the Explore Music program that the Billings Symphony receives grants for, they are able to visit schools and seniors in the community.
“Of course, our whole reason is to hope that maybe they will try out music and take advantage of their school band, choir or orchestra program,” she said.
The Ranch is no stranger to strings. Pictured above are members of the Yellowstone Bluegrass Association, playing for a crowd in the Ranch’s Chapel last fall.
The symphony has visited YBGR in the past for similar concerts. Ron O’Leary, YBGR’s music and art teacher has enjoyed their visits.
“I think it’s great to expose students to unfamiliar forms of music,” he said. “It helps to expand their idea of what’s out there in the world.”
Both O’Leary and Holzer said that the experience is unique for many of the kids because they may have never heard a professional live quartet or musical group before.
“It’s really a rewarding experience for so many of the kids,” said O’Leary.