I was reading this article in today’s Daily Inter Lake about a class for young parents offered at alternative high schools in Kalispell, and it got me wondering what sorts of  resources are currently available for teen parents in Missoula’s high schools.

A while back there used to be a day care in a Missoula high school. It was called the Young Families Program, and it allowed teenage moms to take their babies to school with them and receive great care while they attended classes at Sentinel High School. Not only did the program act as a daycare for these infants, it also provided a meeting place for teenage parents to get together and talk about their experiences and share information about community resources. The employees who ran the program also helped these students connect with other forms of assistance – all with the goal of helping them stay in school and graduate.

Sadly, the program was cut in August 2009 due to budget constraints, and since then I haven’t heard a peep about anything similar starting up again. Meanwhile, the Missoula County Public Schools district, under Superintendent Alex Apostle, launched this major initiative called Graduation Matters. It’s designed to pull the entire community together to help improve Missoula’s graduation rates.

So I’m wondering: Does anyone know if there are any schools in Missoula with in-house parenting programs? Is the Graduation Matters initiative activity working on bringing teen parenting resources into the schools?

I did some light digging online this morning and haven’t come up with any answers so far, so if any of you readers have any information on this topic, please share. I’ll ask around some more this week and let you all know what I come up with.

A resource I do know about (and take every opportunity to tell people about) is Mountain Home Montana, which provides a home for young mothers and their babies. It also helps teen parents prepare for their GED and encourages them to stay enrolled in high school until graduation, among many other things. So far as I’m aware, however, it doesn’t have a presence in Missoula high schools.

This nonprofit organization can always use donations – and right now, it has a wish list of needed items that ranges from diapers and baby formula to pens, pencils and books. Check out the Mountain Home blog to keep track of the latest news about them, including progress on the new building, community events, benefits and more.

– MM