BOZEMAN — Thrive, a local non-profit organization, received a new building thanks to a generous donation, and now it has plans to grow in other ways, the executive director told MTN News last week.
The organization said it is committed to helping children grow and succeed, largely through mentorships and parent education.
“We know that when kids experience trauma, they are more likely to have mental health issues, physical health issues, absentee issues, and have long-term problems which is a societal issue," said Executive Director Carrie Gilbertson.
Gilberton then posed the question, "So, how can we, as an organization, really make sure that kids and parents have access to support early on to prevent any bad outcomes for kids?”
The new building on South Ferguson Avenue will make Thrive's services more accessible, as it is located on the bus line, the organization leader explained.
"It's gonna help us in a couple of ways, and one is, we are not paying rent. We have been paying rent in this valley for 35 years and it's getting harder," Gilbertson began, adding "We wanted to have a space where we had adequate parking. We had a welcoming environment for families to come in and feel comfortable.”
Parking downtown was previously an issue for some parents trying to access classes, Thrive explained.
The new building has classroom spaces for parent education and mentor trainings, services that were previously limited because of COVID-19.
Youth Program Coordinator Maura Watson said, “There was so much change within Bozeman where people were leaving— whether it was on the mentor side or the mentee side. We lost a lot of matches."
The program moved online.
"For that full school year, we had to go fully virtual, which meant our entire team and our entire organization really had to pivot and do this program in a way that we have never done before.”
Before the pandemic, Thrive had close to 600 matches. It now has roughly 425.
“We're trying to actually surpass that and get up to 750 matches by the end of next school year. It seems like a lofty goal, but from what we've seen, this community is here to really get involved and dig in and do the work, and I absolutely think we're gonna be able to do that,” Watson said.
The organization said it asks volunteers for only one hour every week during the school year.
"It's so cool to see the people that show up for these students. They show up for the community and we really… we could not do it without these volunteers and without all of their help,” Watson finished.
To learn more about Thrive or how to volunteer, click here.