Department of Public Health and Human Services

VISTA

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Prevention Resource Center VISTA Project

Current PRC VISTA Host Sites

Billings

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Natalie Redick

Mission: No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in Montana by ensuring that children get the healthy meals they need, every day.  Therefore, No Kid Hungry has partnered with schools and other organizations to improve food access and the quality of food offered through school breakfast, summer, and afterschool meal programs.  The goal on a local level is to address poverty-related needs by building capacity and developing the infrastructure to increase food access.


Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council

Current VISTA: Sarah Hall

This project will increase access to healthcare by developing a new Tribal Health Literacy Engagement Model to engage and inform tribal communities on addiction, including opioid abuse, chronic disease, and prevention. This will require developing a health literacy model; completing an assessment of current health and addiction resources; facilitating focus groups among Native American communities; and assisting in grant writing and a tribal resolution to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project. This VISTA project will alleviate poverty by developing and implementing a model that will be used to increase access to healthcare and health services for Native Americans.

Bozeman

Hopa Mountain

Current VISTA: Samantha Sabanos

The goal of this project is to reduce school dropout rates by connecting low-income teens to resources for the application process, and expanding access to resources for at-risk students who are enrolled in postsecondary educational institutions. This will require identifying students in low-income communities and establish partnerships; compiling a database of resources; and conducting research and analyze data to identify gaps in service and expand access for low-income communities. The project will move low-income youth out of poverty by connecting them to resources for the college application process, and connecting them to resources while in college resulting in increased opportunities for employment and engagement.


Gallatin Valley Food Bank

Current VISTA: Mattie Griswold

The goal of the project is to increase access to healthy foods for low income youth by developing a teaching garden that will generate interest in the production and use of nutritious foods. This will require engaging youth in the development and management of a teaching garden, and recruiting youth struggling with food security to manage, market and ultimately, directly benefit from their garden produce. This project will help alleviate poverty by providing at risk youth opportunities to increase food security by learning gardening techniques unique to Montana weather, nutrition, and how to cook healthy meals using fresh produce

Butte

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Haley McKnight

Mission: No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in Montana by ensuring that children get the healthy meals they need, every day. Therefore, No Kid Hungry has partnered with schools and other organizations to improve food access and the quality of food offered through school breakfast, summer, and afterschool meal programs. The goal on a local level is to address poverty-related needs by building capacity and developing the infrastructure to increase food access.

Hardin

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Gilly Levy

Mission: No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in Montana by ensuring that children get the healthy meals they need, every day. Therefore, No Kid Hungry has partnered with schools and other organizations to improve food access and the quality of food offered through school breakfast, summer, and afterschool meal programs. The goal on a local level is to address poverty-related needs by building capacity and developing the infrastructure to increase food access.

Helena

East Helena Public Schools

Current VISTA: Jess Hegstrom

This project will increase access to mental health services for all low-income residents in East Helena with a specific target of reaching middle school students and their families. This will require developing additional supports for students in the East Helena School District to help cope with stress; finalizing and implementing a 5-year strategic action to address mental health and suicide prevention; and educating the East Helena community in suicide prevention strategies, best practices, and the mental health precursors. This project aims to alleviate the effects of poverty by conducting outreach to families and other members of the greater East Helena community, where 50 percent of students fall at or below the poverty level.


DPHHS - Children's Trust Fund

Current VISTA: Cassidy Corbine

The goal of the project is to increase access to prevention programs in low-income rural and tribal regions which will result in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, increasing healthy lifestyles, encouraging completion of education, and providing families with the ability to interrupt the intergenerational poverty cycle. This will require strengthening (or help form where none currently exist) rural and tribal community coalitions through the development of training curricula and toolkits aimed at connecting those in need to resources. In addition, this will require developing fundraising strategies to ensure the sustainability of the project’s expansion into underserved areas.


6th Ward Community Garden Park

Current VISTA: Dave Tortora

This project will increase access to healthy foods for low-income individuals in the 6th Ward neighborhood by developing a community garden that will generate nutritious food while bringing the community together. This will require reviewing the work completed by the first year VISTA to determine effective community partnerships; seeking out new community partners and continuing to develop the volunteer program; and developing new outreach & education activities for low-income families. This project will help alleviate poverty by providing 6th Ward residents the opportunity to increase their food security through learning gardening techniques unique to Montana weather, nutrition, and how to cook healthy meals using fresh produce.


No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Ellen Harris

Mission: No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in Montana by ensuring that children get the healthy meals they need, every day. Therefore, No Kid Hungry has partnered with schools and other organizations to improve food access and the quality of food offered through school breakfast, summer, and afterschool meal programs. The goal on a local level is to address poverty-related needs by building capacity and developing the infrastructure to increase food access.


Prevention Resource Center - VISTA Leaders

Current VISTA Leaders: Taylor Crowl & Ted Irvin

The Prevention Resource Center VISTA Leaders provide support and assistance in coordinating the PRC VISTA Program, involving 20+ VISTAs in their efforts to address prevention needs of communities in Montana. The VISTA Leaders work to expand and build the capacity of the individual members and their respective sites to alleviate poverty across the state.


Youth Connections / YMCA of Helena

Current VISTA: Rachel Dober

The goal of this project is to increase school attendance and graduation rates, by expanding prevention resources to disadvantaged Helena students through the development and implementation of the evidence based best practice “Pure Performance Program” and the 21st Century Community Learning Center fundamentals. To achieve this, the VISTA must also create funding opportunities to ensure sustainability in both programs.


DPHHS - Injury Prevention Program

Current VISTA: Alyssa McGhee

The goal of the project is to increase access to preventative healthcare to reduce youth illicit use of prescription drugs and other substances, and to reduce overdose deaths in the state. This will require developing an informative mini-grant process; recruiting at least 15 specialists to apply to mini-grant funds; coordinating monthly calls, providing technical assistance and training on volunteer recruitment to mini-grant sites; monitor the success of the program; and finally applying for funding opportunities to ensure sustainability of project. This project will move at risk youth out of poverty by providing evidence-based substance abuse prevention education programs resulting in better outcomes in school and job opportunities.


DOJ - Children's Justice Bureau

Current VISTA: Kayla Argeropoulos

This project will increase access to healthcare services for low-income and at-risk individuals by providing trainings and coordinating efforts across Montana for the prevention, and effective response, to human trafficking. This will require developing a new system to coordinate trainings on human trafficking to agencies and providers; identifying and organizing available community members and agency representatives to provide training; and reporting to the Children’s Justice Bureau with suggestions on how to continue the program. This VISTA project will move low-income individuals, victims, and those at risk of human trafficking out of poverty by increasing access to healthcare services and prevention resources across the state.


Montana Primary Care Association

Current VISTA: Nat Cortes

The goal of this project is to increase access to healthcare for low-income individuals by addressing the social determinants of health in their communities, and connecting patients with enabling services. This will require providing public education around outreach and enrollment; facilitating the expansion of Cover Montana scope of services; building upon Cover Montana’s model to include targeted enabling services; and evaluating the success of Cover Montana expansion. This project will move vulnerable Montanans out of poverty by increasing access to healthcare for low-income individuals by addressing social determinants of health in Montana communities.

Kalispell

Sunburst Community Service Foundation

Current VISTA: Raigan Priest

The goal of this project is to increase the number of low-income families in Flathead County receiving health care by improving access to services. This will require assessing the need for mental health services in the community to determine if and where gaps are and how to better serve clients. In addition, this will require using the results of the assessment to develop a strategic plan incorporating public relations, funding, and implementation tactics. This will increase mental health care access for low-income families, and antipoverty outcomes for the community.


CASA for Kids

Current VISTA: Sara Selg

The goal of this project is to help foster youth break the cycle of abuse and poverty by providing access to a mentoring and skills building program, leading to a more successful young person and a successful transition into adulthood. To achieve this, three new services will be developed, community partnerships will be facilitated, and the member will be responsible for generating fund development. Foster youth and former foster youth will form supports and gain life skills that increase the likelihood of high school graduation, improve their employability, teach them to manage money and support them toward their higher education goals.


Kalispell HEART Program

Current VISTA: Adam Sommers

The goal of this project is to move homeless and low-income youth of out poverty by improving access to food, clothing, and basic necessities resulting in higher success rates in school, work and life. The Heart Program aims to provide homeless and struggling students access the items they need to attend and focus on school; with the intended result of meeting the student’s needs while strengthening their connection to school and their goal to graduate with a high school diploma. This will require recruiting steady volunteers and helping to raise funds, as well as strengthening community involvement in collecting needed items for students.


No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Johnny Peña

Mission: No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in Montana by ensuring that children get the healthy meals they need, every day. Therefore, No Kid Hungry has partnered with schools and other organizations to improve food access and the quality of food offered through school breakfast, summer, and afterschool meal programs. The goal on a local level is to address poverty-related needs by building capacity and developing the infrastructure to increase food access.

Livingston

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Current VISTA: Maddy Brown

The goal of this project is to increase academic engagement and improve student performance by establishing new matches between at-risk youth and qualified volunteer mentors. This will require developing a sustainable volunteer recruitment plan; ensuring volunteer retention and help form a sense of community among mentors; and creating and implementing a volunteer marketing and communications plan. This project will move at people out of poverty by providing a mentoring program for risk youth resulting in better outcomes in school and job opportunities. At-risk youth are more likely to do better in school, build better relationships and gain a more positive outlook on their future when paired with a nonparent mentor, aka. a “Big.”

Missoula

Open Aid Alliance

Current VISTA: Chris Gardner

This project will provide at-risk individuals with co-occurring mental health and addiction access to healthcare by creating an effective crisis and suicide response team for Missoula County resulting in a chance to improve social, economic and emotional outcomes. The intended result of this program is to work with community partners to identify a response plan for this issue. To achieve success, we must hear from community partners, law enforcement, medical providers and those affected by mental health and suicide crisis to establish an appropriate response. This will strengthen systems and help vulnerable low-income individuals struggling with addiction, including opioid abuse, and mental illness to escape poverty.


Montana Food Bank Network

Current VISTA: Laura Pugh

The goal of this project is to increase food security for low-income seniors and families with inadequate access to food. To effectively serve these communities, two new Mail-a-Meal drop-sites will be developed to provide food to at least 60 new low-income households, and five new organizations will be on-boarded for the Grocery Rescue Program to support 31 “gap” communities; will be surveyed; seven community volunteers will be recruited and trained to sustain the efforts of the project. Creating the capacity for Montana Food Bank Network to provide food to low-income seniors and families will ensure underserved individuals are better able to move out of poverty and sustain healthy futures.

Plentywood

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Tina Kahrs

Mission: No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in Montana by ensuring that children get the healthy meals they need, every day. Therefore, No Kid Hungry has partnered with schools and other organizations to improve food access and the quality of food offered through school breakfast, summer, and afterschool meal programs. The goal on a local level is to address poverty-related needs by building capacity and developing the infrastructure to increase food access.

Poplar

No Kid Hungry

Current VISTA: Danielle Scudder

Mission: No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in Montana by ensuring that children get the healthy meals they need, every day. Therefore, No Kid Hungry has partnered with schools and other organizations to improve food access and the quality of food offered through school breakfast, summer, and afterschool meal programs. The goal on a local level is to address poverty-related needs by building capacity and developing the infrastructure to increase food access.

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