Donation will help Youth Homes rebuild home for teens


MISSOULA Mont. - A Missoula nonprofit that helps at-risk youth received a generous donation from the Rotary Club.

Every year Youth Homes serves more than 150 children and teens who come from troubled homes.  The organization helps them find shelter, get counseling and get involved in the community.

Recently the Rotary Club of Missoula Foundation pitched in over $57,000 to support the program.

NBC Montana checked in with Youth Homes Executive Director Geoff Birnbaum, who tells us the money will go toward rebuilding one of the their youth homes in Missoula.

"The Roy Home is the home we need to replace because it's our oldest building and it's worn out after 500 or 600 kids lived there, slamming doors and whatever teenagers do to destroy almost everything," Birnbaum chuckled.  

Birnbaum tells us replacing the Roy Home is something group leaders have been planning to do for the last two years.  The project will cost Youth Homes about $1 million and that's why Birnbaum says having the support of the Rotary Club is so important.  

"This donation made a big difference and I think the other part is I'm a Rotarian myself and when your peers get behind you, you just feel empowered," he says.  

There are currently seven youth homes in Missoula many of which work with people of different ages.

"Some work with younger kids, some work with younger teens and this program that were talking about to receive these funds is the oldest group of kids which are 16 and 17 years old," says Birnbaum.   "These teens are the ones moving towards emancipation."

Birnbaum tells NBC Montana the new facility will allow them to meet the needs of the teens that live in the Roy Home.

"They go grocery shopping and they practice skills there," he says.  "They learn how to cook for themselves, there's a farm in the back that they allow them to work full-time through the summer and they get to earn money and save money."

Birnbaum says they are in the process of signing a contractor and they hope to begin demolition on the old Roy Home in early October.   

For more information about Youth Homes, their new building project or how you can get involved, click here.

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