Our Vulnerable Youth in Great Falls are Struggling
More than 475 children in Great Falls are homeless at some point during the year
More than 600 children are in foster care in Cascade County, more than double the state average
70% of foster care placements are due to substance abuse and of these 80% involved Meth
25% of the graduating class of Paris Gibson Education Center lived on their own
30.8% of 10th graders reported seriously considering attempting suicide in the past 12 months
More than 15,000 pounds of food are given to high school students annually
Many of the social services offered to children phase out between the ages of 12-18 leaving a large coverage gap in services for teenagers
The Youth Resource Center Will Fill Huge Resource Gaps
In conjunction with numerous dedicated community partners, Alliance for Youth is committed to building a Youth Resource Center, which will meet the physical, social and emotional needs of vulnerable youth in a low-barrier, safe, secure and loving environment. The Center will be open Monday–Saturday from 2 -10 p.m. and serve youth up to the age of 20.
The Center Will Offer:
• Food (including a hot meal each day at 6 p.m.)
• Clothing & hygiene products
• Shower & laundry facilities
• Mental health & addiction counseling
• Suicide prevention services
• Medical & dental care
• Transportation assistance
• Connection to employment, education/training & housing
• Life skills
• Parent mediation
We Need Your Help to Start the Center on a Sustainable Path
Make Your Tax Deductible Donation Today!
• January 2020 (Start-Up): $150,000
• June 2020 (Building Acquisition): $550,000
• January 2021 (Final Building Updates & Program Stability): $1,000,000
• January 2023 (Long-term Sustainability): $3,000,000
In-kind donations of labor, building supplies, food, new clothing and hygiene products are also needed.
For More Information, Please Contact Kristy Pontet-Stroop, Executive Director of the Alliance for Youth at 406-781-9938 or via email at email@example.com.
Food Pantry Wish List
Individually wrapped granola bars, protein bars, chips, fruit cups, cheese & crackers, cookies, trail mix, hummus and pretzel packets, microwave popcorn, etc.
Pre-packaged single-serve foods: soups, cup-a-noodle, single serve vegetables, tuna packets, mac & cheese, oatmeal, hot chocolate, pudding cups, fruits, vegetables, jerky, cheese, etc.
There is also a need for the following non-food items:
New bath towels
Travel size toothpaste
Feminine products-variety sizes of tampons, liners & pads
Body Wash mini-scrubbers to wash with
Contact Lisa Beavers for more information about food and supplies needed
406.952.0136 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of the Alliance for Youth app is to provide youth with useful and relatable information about mental health and suicide prevention… all at their fingertips. Whether the user be the person at risk, or a friend or family member, through a custom app we can make sure the information they receive is accurate, relevant and trustworthy. It also provides additional resources such as safe spaces for those who might be in a vulnerable state. Click on the download buttons below to get the free app for your mobile device.
Awareness for Montana Youth
One of every five Montana youth aged 12-18 years struggles with mental illness, addiction. Depression and suicidal thinking is especially present. Youth Mental Health First Aid USA (YMHFA) is a valuable resource that can make a difference in the lives of these youth, save lives!
SOURCE: SAHMSA Montana Behavioral Health Barometer 2009-2013
YMHFA is available to adults in the community FREE of charge.
YMHFA builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.
The course teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents and symptoms of a mental illness or an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan:
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm
- Listen non-judgmentally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
Who should take this course?
The course is designed for adults who regularly interact with adolescents (teachers, school staff, coaches, youth group leaders, parents, etc.), but is being tested for appropriateness within older adolescent groups (16 and older) so as to encourage youth peer to peer interaction.
Mental Health Resources:
- Cascade County Youth Crisis Diversion Project
- National Alliance on Mental Health
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Resources for Suicide Prevention:
- DPHHS Suicide Prevention and Resources
- Suicide in Montana: Facts, Figures and Formulas for Prevention
Substance Abuse has far-reaching and harmful consequences. Persistent substance abuse among youth is often accompanied by an array of problems including academic difficulties and school drop-out, health-related consequences, poor peer relationships, mental health issues, crime, violence and early sexual activity, pregnancy and/or sexual assault.
Abuse of all other substances including alcohol, ecstasy, molly and prescription narcotics is decreasing and is lower or comparable to other Montana 10th and 12th grade students
Substance Abuse Prevention Alliance (SAPA)
SAPA is a community coalition founded/formed on the premise that substance abuse correlates and contributes to other behaviors that interrupt youths’ ability to reach their full potential. This coalition is focusing their efforts to prevent alcohol, marijuana, and Rx USE amongst our youth and alcohol and Rx ABUSE amongst adults and illicit marijuana use!
SAPA is a very diverse coalition of dedicated professionals and community members that courageously and diligently work to make Cascade County an even more vibrant and healthy place to live in Montana.
The coalition has representation from: City County Health Department, Benefis Health Care, Montana Highway Patrol, Gateway Community Services, United Way, University of Great Falls, Great Falls Police Department, Great Falls Public Schools CARE Program, Central Assembly Church, In His Hands Faith Group, Walker Design Group, KRTV, Youth Court Services, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Students from surrounding schools, and parents from within Great Falls community.
If you are interested in becoming involved with this work and want join SAPA, please contact: Kristy Stroop 406-952-0018 or EMAIL
Youth Advisory Board
The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is a youth working group underneath the guidance of SAPA. They are working on challenging the culture of pro alcohol and drug use within the community.
SAPA’s YAB Motto: To Create Positive Change
- Be the Change You Want to See in This World – Mahatma Gandhi
- Encourages peers to take notice
- HAVE FUN!
In 2015 YAB was recognized by the Montana Chemical Dependency Bureau for their Outstanding Achievement in Alcohol Prevention Strategies.
If you are interested in becoming involved with this work and want join the YAB, please contact: Kristy Stroop 406-952-0018 or EMAIL
Living Above the Influence Campaign
SAPA has chosen Living ATI to be their mantra. Living ATI is a lifestyle choice to live our lives above the negative influences in life. This can be Playing Sports Above the Influence, Working Above the Influence, Parenting Above the Influence, Learning Above the Influence, etc…
SAPA has successfully launched a newly designed Living ATI website that houses comprehensive support and education to the local community and stakeholders. The website provides education for a myriad of issues (alcohol, drugs, violence, mental health disorders, peer support, parent support) and assists browsers with the skills to access local support and services.
Cascade County Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 21 % of high school students reported having obtained alcohol through social sources such as family, friends and strangers.
The goal of this project is to restrict third-party sales, preventing and reducing youth substance abuse, and protecting youth from unnecessary harm, including death. Sticker Shock is currently placed in convenience stores across Cascade County. Cleverly designed and eye-catching stickers, window clings, hang-tags and buttons worn by personnel serving/selling alcohol remind consumers that purchasing and/or providing alcohol to anyone younger than age 21 it is against the law.
Prescription drug abuse is when someone takes a medication that was prescribed for someone else or takes their own prescription in a way not intended by a doctor or for a different reason—like to get high. It has become a big health issue because of the dangers, particularly the danger of abusing prescription pain medications. For teens, it is a growing problem:
- After marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most commonly abused substances by Americans age 14 and older.
- Teens abuse prescription drugs for a number of reasons, such as to get high, to stop pain, or because they think it will help them with school work.
- Most teens get prescription drugs they abuse from friends and relatives, sometimes without the person knowing. 19% of local high school students admit to using prescription drugs that don’t belong to them.
- Boys and girls tend to abuse some types of prescription drugs for different reasons. For example, boys are more likely to abuse prescription stimulants to get high, while girls tend to abuse them to stay alert or to lose weight.
When prescription drugs are taken as directed, they are usually safe. It requires a trained health care clinician, such as a doctor or nurse, to determine if the benefits of taking the medication outweigh any risks for side effects. But when abused and taken in different amounts or for different purposes than as prescribed, they affect the brain and body in ways very similar to illicit drugs. When prescription drugs are abused, they can be addictive and put the person at risk for other harmful health effects, such as overdose (especially when taken along with other drugs or alcohol). And, abusing prescription drugs is illegal—and that includes sharing prescriptions with family members or friends.
Americans united October 26-30 to participate in Red Ribbon Week. This year’s theme, “Love Your Drug Free Selfie” was embraced by both rural and urban schools with alcohol and drug education, dress-up days, and drug free activities. Red Ribbons adorned the County and local coffee shops supported the newly released Rx prevention campaign with “Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse…” coffee sleeves on all purchased products. Car lots placed all red vehicles at the front of their lots, wore Red Ribbons and handed out drug free messaging magnets to customers. Local businesses wore red ribbons and placed positive messaging on their reader boards and media supported the message by encouraging citizens to send in or post their “Drug Free Selfies”!
Substance Abuse Resources:
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Living Above the Influence
Mediation and Accountability Program- MAP
MAP provides students and their families a number of supports in achieving academic success. Academic success support can include cognitive, social and emotional supports.
- MAP supports parents in resolving conflicts and/or barriers that interfere with their children’s education. The conflicts and barriers are identified by the family and may include people, places or things far removed from the school grounds (i.e., parenting plan and/or co-parenting conflicts, conflict between the family and the school or conflicts within the family, etc.).
- MAP assists parents in identifying problems that interfere with their children’s academic success and helps parents develop and implement solutions to the identified problems.
- MAP is able to refer and link families/students to services outside the school system, support families in accessing services (i.e., help navigate systems, call and remind of appointments, arrange transportation, etc.) and advocate for the family, especially when multiple service providers or agencies are involved.
- MAP provides long-term support, at the family’s discretion, to help the family in maintaining their children’s academic success.
MAP is available to families FREE of any charge through financial support from Alliance for Youth and United Way of Cascade County and partnership with Big Sky Therapeutic Services.
How can I access MAP support? Contact Nicole Zimmerman via EMAIL
Parents are Powerful Influencers of Behavior
Despite the fact that your kids may indicate the contrary, despite media and social media influences, despite the influence of friends, research clearly and consistently demonstrates that parents are the most powerful influencer of their children's behaviors!
Parenting Education Courses Circle of Security and Nurturing Parenting
Alliance for Youth, offers Free or Sliding Fee Parenting Courses through a Partnership with Discovery Family Counseling Services, LLC.
Circle of Security Parenting (COSP) and Nurturing Parenting (NP) are evidence-based programs designed to improve parents’ understanding of the needs of their children and improve appropriate parent responses to meet their children’s needs. Service provision encompasses parents with children ages 0-12 years. The programs incorporate visually-based