BOZEMAN – Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP) plans to expand and offer more services after raising close to $2 million.
The non-profit BYEP was established 18 years ago by Pete MacFadyen to help create an outlet for teenagers going through rough times.
“The idea was to create opportunities where kids could learn something new and also engage in social-emotional learning curriculum, ” said MacFayden.
BYEP started with about five members and has now grown to serve 128 teens in the Gallatin Valley.
With kids still being placed on a waitlist, MacFadyen saw the need to expand, so he reached out to the community in hopes of raising $2 million. Over the last year, the program has been able to raise $1.8 million, which it plans to use to expand its current facility from 3,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet.
Not only will the building expand, BYEP hopes to serve 200 teens by 2021.
“Kids will have access to tutoring four nights a week in conjunction with MSU, which we are really excited about. Now we are two nights a week, which will then ramp up four nights a week.”
Mental health has been an issue local leaders have been looking to address in the community. In fact, Deputy Mayor Chris Mehl said he believes it is one of the key issues to be addressed in the near future. MacFayden said he hopes with the expansion he can help these kids.
“It’s a collective energy,” said MacFadyen. “When everybody chips in, it doesn’t feel like it is that hard of work but I guess for me personally, I fall asleep well knowing that my efforts are going towards making the world a better place.”
BYEP hopes to start expanding its facility in September.
Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News