By Maria Wyllie
Explore Big Sky Associate Editor

BIG SKY – The Child Advancement Project is now in its third year of operation in the Big Sky School District and is seeking volunteers to serve as CAP mentors for one hour each week during the school year.

A signature program of the Bozeman-based nonprofit THRIVE, CAP is certified by The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, an organization that works to assist the public in identifying scientifically-based approaches to preventing negative outcomes for children.

Julie Grimm, the Big Sky School District’s CAP mentor coordinator, says that through this program THRIVE aims to support students and families to promote healthy communities.

“The goal is to provide support to the children and enhance their success,” Grimm said. “It’s a strength-based program, so we work to increase [students’] strengths.”

While volunteers are asked to meet with students each week, Grimm says she is flexible and takes mentors’ off-season schedules and vacation time into account. Because it is a school-based program, mentors must be able to meet with students during school hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

CAP is for students in grades k-12, and students are nominated to the program by school staff or parents, or they can request to join. Mentors then work one-on-one with students to increase academic and social competency and to enhance opportunities for academic challenge.

Grimm says the program is a positive experience for both students and mentors.

“Kids really benefit from having someone outside the family and school that is demonstrating they care and shows up to see them,” she said. “It’s also a way for community members who don’t have kids to get involved with the school…it’s one of the centers of the community.”

Interested volunteers must complete an interview process and pass three background checks before being accepted as CAP mentors. Matches are made throughout the school year.

Visit allthrive.org, or contact Julie Grimm at jgrimm@bssd72.org or (406) 995-4281 ext. 274, for more information. Online applications can be filled out at allthrive.org/programs/child-advancement-project-cap/become-a-mentor.