- Community name: Bigfork
- Community or city website
- Population: 6,936
- Graduation rate: 92.0%
- Youth poverty rate: 18.0%
For the first time, America’s Promise Alliance named Bigfork one of its 100 Best Communities for Young People. The win came as a result of all the community is doing to improve the lives of its young people. One program that stood out is the Bigfork LEAP program which provides many resources for children, including healthy after-school snacks, free evening meals every Wednesday during the school year, as well as breakfast and lunch during the summer. LEAP also offers opportunities for high school students to become mentors for elementary school students as well as other service-learning opportunities through the Community Garden Project, which provides produce for LEAP food programs. Parents in Bigfork work together to support young people through the Friends of Bigfork Schools, which is a group of parents dedicated to raising funds for local youth. In 2010, they raised $10,000 for youth programs in the community.
- Friends of Bigfork Schools is a group of parents that is dedicated to raising funds for local youth with initiatives like the all-community talent show at Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts.
- The LEAP After School Program provides healthy after-school snacks for students and serves a free evening meal every Wednesday throughout the school year.
- The LEAP After School Program and the Bigfork Rotary Club raises funds for a summer food program that feeds every child under nineteen a free breakfast and lunch all summer.
- The Montana Digital Academy is a program that helps students recover credits they may have been missing through failed grades or chronic absences.
- The Bigfork Children’s Theatre performs plays at schools across the country, as well as at nursing homes. Plays have included Narnia, A Christmas Carol and Aladdin.
During the first three years I was on the Bigfork football team, we only won two games. It was disheartening to have such a bad run, but the greatest thing about it was, the bleachers were never empty. They weren’t just full of hopeful parents, they were full of town folks who were there to support us, even if we were losing.
I can now watch my sister grow up and build important skills she will definitely use in her future.