BIG SKY YOUTH EMPOWERMENT

The Bozeman-based nonprofit, Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP), has raised more than $1.8 million in expansion funding from a small group of donors to address the growing demand for its programs. Aiming to benefit Gallatin Valley’s most vulnerable teenagers, BYEP creates opportunities for young adults to experience success through life-skills curricula and outdoor adventures.

The 17-year-old organization currently serves 128 youth, and routinely has a waitlist for its 100-percent scholarship-based program. The expansion funding will allow BYEP to increase the total number of teens served to 200 by the year 2021. In addition, the number of hours that participants can access BYEP’s programs will increase. Currently, teens can engage in BYEP programming twice a week, averaging 10 hours per week, for 36 weeks out of the year. The expansion will allow young adults to engage in programs up to five times per week, with annual program hours growing from 46,000 to a projected 83,000 hours annually.

With support from Montana State University, the organization will expand tutoring to four nights per week during the school year and will also provide ongoing elective workshops, which will include book discussions, art workshops, and mindfulness and wellness training.

Big Sky Youth Empowerment will also expand its job skills training, placement, and independent living workshops for older participants and alumni. This commitment to the community’s adolescent population is the realization of a long-held dream of BYEP’s founder and Executive Director Pete MacFadyen.

In order to accommodate this expansion, the organization will increase its approximately 3,000-square-foot footprint in its existing location on East Mendenhall Street to 9,000 square feet by occupying adjacent space via a long-term lease. BYEP’s operating budget is projected to grow to $1.5 million annually, which places it in the top tier of nonprofits based in Bozeman.

With this expansion plan in place MacFadyen will be stepping down as BYEP’s executive director in July 2019. MacFadyen will remain an integral part of the organization by taking a seat on its board of directors.

For more information about Big Sky Youth Empowerment and its expansion, or about volunteering opportunities with the organization, visit byep.org or call (406) 551-9660.