HELENA – As Florence Crittenton prepares to reopen its doors in the coming weeks, the nonprofit is also gearing up for its annual fundraiser.

The 16th year of Paint the Town Pink is February 10 at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. The event will be crucial to help the non-profit which is going in a new direction to provide resources for pregnant and parenting families of all ages.

Organizers say this year’s event will feature decadent peacock feathers, glittering lights, dinner, cocktails and more. But beyond the flashiness, the organization is all about providing services.

MTN spoke with Clarissa Koop, who will be the guest speaker at Paint the Town Pink. A self-described “wild child,” Koop said she got pregnant at the age of 15. That’s when her juvenile probation officer sent her to Florence Crittenton.

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“I didn’t agree with the decision at the time…but it ended up being the best decision ever that could have been made for me,” Koop said.

Florence Crittenton taught her about baby nutrition, basic budgeting, how to pay taxes and how to bond with her newborn child.

“They teach you everything you don’t know. It was helpful. Really helpful for a young mom,” Koop said.

Koop, now 27, said that many of the girls she spent time with in her teenage years who were also pregnant have lost custody of their children. On the other hand, Koop’s 11 year old girl is doing well in her care. Koop said the girl enjoys basketball and does well in school.

Looking back, Koop said she’s glad for her time spent at Florence Crittenton.

“I feel lucky that I got to experience it and be here,” Koop said.

For more information about Paint the Town Pink or to buy tickets, click here.

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