GREAT FALLS — Things are moving full speed ahead for the Alliance for Youth. The Great Falls non-profit recently closed on the building purchase of the former Victory Church to house their Youth Resource Center for at-risk kids.
On Thursday night, they hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the community and the donors who helped make it happen.
The event featured music, fellowship, and food as well as tours of the Youth Resource Center.
The 16,000-square foot building includes basic services like laundry, showers, and a food pantry. Wi-fi and computer access are also available.
A professional staff also provides services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health care, substance abuse treatment, and housing help.
With approximately 600 area kids in foster care and almost 500 kids homeless at some point during the year, leaders say the center is desperately needed. Executive Director Kristy Pontet-Stroop said opening the center at this time has a special meaning.
“On September 18th of 2019 we got a call from Gary Hart of Victory Church asking us what we could use this building for,” said Pontet-Stroop. “Two years later I'm so excited that we got to cut the ribbon.”
Great Falls philanthropist Gene Thayer and his wife Jane gave $75,000 to the project. The center’s hub has been named in their honor. The Thayer's also helped raise money so the Alliance for Youth could purchase the building.
“When I found out they were going to take care of the homeless population in Great Falls, especially the youth, it just hit my heart and I thought boy this is a project I want to get involved in,” said Gene Thayer.
The idea of a Youth Resource Center has been more than 15 years in the making.
Pontet-Stroop told MTN the Youth Resource Center has raised $729,000 so far. That includes the building purchase. She said they still need to raise about $220,000 for renovations and approximately another $2-million to remain self-sustaining and keep the center running.
For more information, or if you would like to donate, click here to visit the website.