The Linda Massa Youth Home has a development coordinator and an emphasis on a fundraising campaign called the “Bitterroot Hundred.”
The Linda Massa Youth Home (formerly known as the Bitterroot Youth Home) is an eight-bed group home licensed to provide short-term crisis intervention and longer-term group care for youth, ages 10 to 18. It also accepts one youth from the Youth Crisis Diversion Project.
Margaret Perry, development coordinator for Linda Massa Youth Home, sent out nearly 350 letters to potential donors and new members of the Bitterroot Hundred Club.
“I'm trying to gather 100 people who donate a minimum of $100 annually in the summer,” Perry said. “We have 57 club members so far.”
As development coordinator Perry is tasked with finding the funding needed for the LMYH and the shortfalls that happen with the home.
“It is expensive to care for the kids and keep them happy and safe here,” Perry said. “My focus is to broaden our donor base and let more people in the valley know who we are and what we do. Hopefully people will check their mail box and respond.”
The funds go into a special activity fund that helps provide things and experiences that most teenagers need and enjoy, especially during summer break from school. Traditionally the fund has been used for the usual summer teen activities of camping, movies, ice-cream, rafting, taekwondo, bowling, hiking and biking but also college application or GED fees and clothing.
The fund has also been used for bigger ticket items like a new oven or covering a septic emergency.
“We have used it for a big incidental,” said Anna Green, program director. “We run in the red, shelters are always losing money and we have Margaret to offset the difference. The Bitterroot Hundred gives us a little nest egg in case we have an incidental. People should know their money is going for something that would have a huge, powerful impact on our house.”
The Bitterroot Hundred also provides some normalcy to teen summers. This summer that included month of lessons at the Clay Works studio, rock climbing, rafting through the Alberton Gorge, hiking and trips to the Flying Squirrel (trampoline center in Missoula).
“We try to give them high-adventure activity opportunities,” Green said. “Last year every kid went to summer camp. We want to be able to get the kids out to the Daly Days, Creamery Picnic, the Ravalli County Fair, Big Sky Waterslides, Silverwood and biking on the Hiawatha Trail. It is good to get them out like the rest of their peers.”
Perry is the first development coordinator the LMYH has had in 15 years.
“It’s nice to be in the house and meet the kids,” Perry said. “It gives me a sense of the kids and what their challenges might be. It’s important to have someone in this role who is a community member.”
Green praised the addition.
“It frees me from doing all the development work,” she said. “It is nice to have Margaret to be the face of the Linda Massa Youth Home with us.”
Perry has lived in the Bitterroot Valley for over five years and attended the annual Linda Massa Youth Home Gala.
“It’s great to be here,” Perry said. “Rural Sociology is my background and the challenges and barriers that occur with rural people has always been interesting to me and my focus. I worked at Montana Food Bank Network before this and this has been a good transition for me. I’ve learned about a different set of challenges for a different set of people.”
Green said the LMYH has been filled to capacity all summer.
“We’ve been slammed with kids,” she said. “We’ve had lots of wild, intense stories and lots of referrals. This is the first week we’ve had a lull with five. We spent all summer at eight - one Youth Crisis Diversion kid and seven state kids. We have 17 staff and the Bitterroot Hundred has an actual impact on a lot of people’s lives, locally. The fund helps kids safe.”
Perry said she has started to see responses to her letters.
“I’m getting nice encouraging notes with the checks,” Perry said. “It is always good to give people an opportunity to become partners with us in a different way. A lot of people are happy to help.”
Perry said since the LMYH serves the Bitterroot Valley she is hoping for additional donors throughout the valley.
“We serve from Lolo to Sula,” she said. “We want to make relationships with people up and down the valley. With more members in the Bitterroot Hundred we can afford more backpacks, ski goggles, college application fees and slip n’ slides.”
Perry will also be writing grants.