From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP), has raised over $1.8 million in expansion funding from a small group of generous donors to address the growing demand for its compelling programs. Targeting Gallatin Valley’s most vulnerable teenagers, BYEP creates opportunities for young adults to experience success through compelling life skills curricula and outdoor adventures. From financial literacy to rock climbing, Big Sky Youth Empowerment exposes at-risk teens to life-changing experiences in a fun, group-oriented environment, guided by a team of amazing volunteer mentors.
Now 17 years old, BYEP currently serves 128 youth, and routinely has a waitlist for its 100% scholarship based program. The expansion funding will allow the organization to increase the total number of youth served to 200 by the year 2021. The expansion will allow youth to engage in programs up to five times per week with annual program hours growing from 46,000 to a projected 83,000 hours. The organization, with support from Montana State University, will expand tutoring to four nights per week during the school year and will also provide ongoing elective workshops which will include book discussions, art workshops, and mindfulness and wellness training. BYEP will also expand on its job skills training, placement, and independent living workshops for older participants and alumni. This is an incredible commitment to the community’s adolescent population, and the realization of a long-held dream of BYEP’s founder and Executive Director, Pete MacFadyen.
In order to realize this expansion, the organization will be increasing its approximate 3,000 square foot footprint in its existing location (225 East Mendenhall) to 9,000 square feet by occupying adjacent space to the North and West via a long-term lease. BYEP’s operating budget is expected to grow to an annual run-rate of $1.5 million, which places it in the top tier of nonprofits based in Bozeman, and establishes the nonprofit at a long-term sustainable size.
With a solid plan in place to expand programming and impact, Pete MacFadyen has decided to pass the leadership torch and will be stepping down as BYEP’s Executive Director in July of 2019. Pete will continue to pursue his personal mission of “making the world a better place” and will remain an integral part of BYEP by taking a seat on its board of directors.
BYEP would like to thank this incredibly supportive community, from the bottom of our hearts, for believing in today’s youth and their ability to grow and contribute. The difference made in the lives of our participants is an opportunity numerous teens in our community deserve, and Big Sky Youth Empowerment depends upon the local community to make this all possible. It is truly life-saving work, and we are only able to do it with your support.