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We help build resilience in children who have experienced homelessness and domestic violence. With age-appropriate programming for infants through teenagers, our comprehensive youth services reduce the impact of trauma, provide opportunities for healing and growth, and enrich the lives of children and families that we serve. Just one of our programs, GUTS! leadership programming for girls and gender-diverse youth is focused on positive mentorships, community projects and summer outdoor adventures.

 

Children’s Programs at The Meadowlark

For children residing at The Meadowlark, the Youth Services Program provides a safe place for them to go every day after school. Here they will receive social-emotional support, academic support, and therapeutic services to promote healing from trauma and building a path to a successful future; in addition they can take advantage of the program’s opportunities to develop leadership skills.

  • Daily group activities create a safe environment to nurture self-expression and resilience building, identification and naming of emotions, self-regulation, and a stronger sense of self-worth.
  • Weekly groups designed for children of all ages who have witnessed or experienced domestic violence. Groups include therapeutic play and other age-appropriate activities, all offered in a safe and supportive environment.
  • After-school programming for elementary and middle school youth includes academics, physical activity and healthy nutrition.

 

Children’s Support Groups

Weekly support groups are offered for children in the community, birth to age 18, and coordinated in time schedule with support groups for adult survivors of domestic violence. The children’s curriculum includes therapeutic art activities and play, education about domestic violence, safety planning, and healthy conflict management. Support groups can increase self-esteem, teach safe and healthy ways to express feelings, and give children the tools to form healthy relationships. YWCA support groups for children and youth are based at the YWCA Program Center, one wing of The Meadowlark.

To learn more or register for children’s support groups, please call (406) 543-6691.

GUTS! Girls’ Leadership

Girls Using Their Strengths — GUTS! — is a community-based leadership and empowerment program for girls and gender-diverse 4th to 8th graders. GUTS! encourages young people to explore personal values and discover their strengths through wilderness adventures in the summer, as well as through after-school groups and service projects during the academic year.

We’re looking for volunteers to lead groups for Spring 2022, both online and in-person. Apply to volunteer here!

Action Groups

Offered during the school year, weekly action groups give participants the chance to learn and practice leadership skills in their homes, schools and communities. These groups discuss topics ranging from healthy relationships and body image to long-term goals and values. Groups develop and complete an action project each school year, providing them with the opportunity to utilize their individual skills to produce real results in their lives.

Spring 2022 groups will be held in-person and online. Groups are open to 4th-8th grade girls and gender-diverse youth. 

Sign up for virtual groups here! Email Jess, GUTS ! Program Coordinator, at jmonis@ywcaofmissoula.org with questions.

Summer Outdoor Adventures

Led by qualified instructors, GUTS! summer trips help participants build strengths and self-confidence, and cultivate their appreciation for the natural world in an environment free from societal pressures. Summer outdoor adventures incorporate several outdoor skills such as backpacking, canoeing, farming and biking while introducing participants to the GUTS! leadership method.