- Community name: Missoula
- Website: http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/
- Population: 109,494
- Graduation rate: 86.9%
- Youth poverty rate: 19.0%
Missoula, a six-time 100 Best winner, was again honored for its commitment to mentoring and success in creating a positive environment for all youth to grow. Youth with disabilities have access to peer support and programs through the Youth Opening Doors through Advocacy Program, while the National Coalition Building Institute–Missoula Respect Club provides youth who are coping with prejudice and mistreatment, and students who are their allies, with a safe space to gather. Adult role models and mentors volunteer their time to share their knowledge with more than 300 children annually at Big Brothers Big Sisters Missoula. The Missoula chapter is also the only organization in Montana that has a specific program to mentor children who have an incarcerated parent. The Outdoor Explorers Mentoring Program teaches outdoor safety skills and offers youth and their mentors monthly activities.
Keeping youth engaged outside of the classroom is a priority in the community through programs like the Missoula Flagship Program which provides arts, cultural, recreational, tutoring, and community service activities for youth. In addition, the Summer Arts and Leadership Camp is a free summer camp for local young people while the Boys and Girls Club hosts an after school program with supervised recreational activities.
The Youth Opening Doors through Advocacy Program provides young people living with disabilities opportunities to meet several times monthly to share peer support and have fun.
The National Coalition Building Institute Respect Club is part of the National Coalition Building Institute-Missoula Chapter that works to move individuals, organizations, and communities toward a more just and inclusive society. The club invites youth who are subject to prejudice and mistreatment—and students who are their allies—to gather in a safe and supportive environment.
The Missoula Forum for Children and Youth is an alliance of coalitions, agencies and individuals with the mission of building a supportive environment to prevent substance abuse and grow healthy children and youth.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Missoula provides one-on-one mentoring to youth in the community to improve social, emotional and behavioral skills as well as self-esteem and school commitment. The Missoula chapter is the only organization in Montana that has a specific program to mentor children who have an incarcerated parent.
“Missoula is a great place to be a teen. Everything an adolescent could want or need can be found close to here.”
“I love to live in Missoula because of all the wonderful opportunities we have here.”