By Barbara Rowley

BIG SKY – Julie Grimm, coordinator of the new CAP (Child Advancement Project) Mentor program in the Big Sky School District, says the four-month old pilot program is now on its way to meeting – and likely exceeding – its first-year goals of matching 20 students with adult mentors.

“Not only are we meeting our goals numerically, but our volunteers’ hard work, determination, and attention are surpassing my expectations,” Grimm said.

“Many of the students’ teachers provide the mentors with folders that have make-up, class or homework. Others are working on special projects together.” Mentors and students meet weekly.

Mentors are matched with students who have been nominated for the program by a teacher or parent. While some students need academic or social assistance, many are nominated because they need more opportunity for advanced projects or enrichment.

For example, one student in the Ophir program interested in math works with his mentor to learn advanced concepts through the use of drafting tools. Because the program is one-on-one, the mentor also integrates the student’s specific interest in cars into their work as they study ratios, conversions and distance.

The CAP is an initiative of the Bozeman-based nonprofit, Thrive, which runs the program in all Bozeman schools. The Yellowstone Club Community Foundation is funding this three-year commitment to the Big Sky School District. This is the first time the organization has implemented the program in a rural school.

The Big Sky community responded to the request for mentors with overwhelming support, Grimm says, but there remains a need for male students who need male mentors. Interested applicants can apply on line at allthrive.org. Questions? Contact Grimm at (406) 995-4281 ext. 274.