Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flathead County


Big Brothers Big Sisters is not your typical organization. They help children realize their potential and build their futures. They nurture children and strengthen communities.

They believe that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Most children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters live in low-income and single-parent families, or households where a parent is incarcerated. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).

Evidence suggests that Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) reduces delinquent behavior and improves school outcomes among mentees. Community-based BBBS can reduce youth’s aggressive behavior, improve relationships with parents, prevent boys from initiating illegal drug use, and improve girls’ academic performance.

Looking for a way for your community or organization to start Big Brothers Big Sisters in your community? Become a community partner.

Profile of the Week: Nourish the Flathead

Nourish the Flathead

Nourish the Flathead’s mission is to reconnect people to the sources of our food through education, outreach and market support. 


Nourish the Flathead runs a community garden behind Flathead Valley Community College, within that garden they run a youth program called Stand Up. Dig in. (SUDI).  The beds that SUDI works contain food that is donated to the Flathead Food Bank.


Nourish the Flathead works with youth programs in Kalispell; The Montana Academy, the Flathead Youth Home, Center for Restorative Youth Justice and the Sinopah House.

Currently, they have a dedicated board that helps make everything happen.  They hope to begin funding their projects through grants now that they have their 501c3.

They also run the SNAP booth at the Whitefish Farmers Market and work to promote local food and businesses that use local food through our website.



Nourish the Flathead strives to work to connect youth to gardening, local food and community service, thus they work with youth in both their community garden as well as our SNAP booth.  They also have 40 plots within the garden that are rented by adults in the Kalispell area and help fund their garden project.  They endeavor to involve the adults in the Nourish Community as well.



For more information, please visit:

Nourish the Flathead:

Nourish the Flathead on Facebook:

Their Partner Organization, Farm Hands:

Montana Arthritis Program

Montana Arthritis Program


The Montana Arthritis, in collaboration with the Arthritis Foundation, is working to improve the quality of life for people affected by arthritis by increasing awareness about appropriate arthritis self-management activities and expanding the reach of exercise programs proven to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis.

These programs include the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP), which is a community-based recreational exercise program developed by the Arthritis Foundation.  Trained AFEP instructors cover a variety of rang-of-motion and endurance building activities, relaxation techniques, and health education topics.  All of the exercises can be modified to meet participant needs.  The program’s demonstrated benefits include improved functional ability, decreased depression, and increased confidence in one’s ability to exercise. Classes typically meet two or three times per week for 8-12 weeks ;

The Walk With Ease Program (WWE) is a community-based, group walking program, offered by the Arthritis Foundation.  The WWE program was developed by the Arthritis Foundation to help individuals who may either be self or medically diagnosed with arthritis start to maintain a safe walking routine.  Participants meet three times a week at local sites under the direct supervision of a walking leader trained according to the guidelines of the Arthritis Foundation.  Each meeting begins with a pre-walk discussion covering a specified topic related to exercise and arthritis, followed by a 10-to-40 minute walk that includes a warm-up and a cool down ;

Montana Living Life Well (Stanford’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program), which is an effective self-management education program for people with chronic health problems.  These workshops empower participants to take an active role in managing their health.  Workshops meet once a week for six weeks; each sessions lasts 2 ½ hours.  During the sessions, participants learn skills needed in the day-to-day management of long-term health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, heart and lung disease.  This in turn allows them to maintain and/or improve their ability to carry out activities of daily living.  Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders.

The Montana Arthritis Program is based out of the Department of Public Health and Human Services in Helena but has many sites with classes going on throughout the state.

For more information click here!

National Bike to Work Week!


May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.

National Bike to Work Week 2016 will be held on May 16-20. Bike to Work Day is May 20!

As a national sponsor, the League provides resources to help you plan an event in your area, and each year the number and diversity of Bike Month celebrations continues to grow, accelerating the momentum around bicycling nationwide.

Check out their website for tips on getting your community involved in National Bike Month.

For a chance to be featured on our website and Instagram page, snap a photo of yourself or your co-workers biking to work and post it to your Instagram or Facebook and tag RHI with @montanaruralhealthinitiative . Dont forget to spread the word about Bike to Work Week with the hashtags #bikemonth and #biketoworkweek

Journeys from Home Montana – “Better Health through Walking and Bicycling”

“Better Health Through Walking and Bicycling” is organized by Journeys from Home Montana. This particular collection of in-school and out-of-school programs conducts workshops for community members, teachers and bicycle advocates directed at making the community more friendly to walking and bicycling.

Journeys From Home Montana (JFHM) promotes living an active healthy lifestyle.  We encourage communities to become pedestrian and bicycle friendly by offering tools, techniques and mentoring to meet that objective. The core of our work is done on the ground with teachers, parents, advocates and children; face to face in small communities conducting seminars, workshops and on-line classes.

 JFHM communicates through their website and their Facebook page


  • To give children the skills necessary to become competent, predictable, and comfortable on their route to school.
  •  To give parents the confidence to allow children to travel freely in their community.

The Task

Provide children and youth with the experiences necessary to acquire the tools and knowledge that will allow them to travel safely and predictably under their own power in their own community.

The Vision 

We envision all children living and learning in a loving, least restrictive environment.  We recognize children as intelligent individuals.  We see children empowered by the opportunity to make choices and gain knowledge through guided discovery.  Our hope is that all children have opportunity for a happy and healthful childhood that will lead to a meaningful and productive adulthood.

The Mission 

We, as responsible caring adults, will study all available information regarding the development and education of children.  We will work diligently to provide the opportunities and experiences that allow youth to mature independently.

The People

We are a multi-generational group of educators, designers and filmmakers that are pro-active and solution based. Our passion and specialty is the prevention of traffic related childhood injury. Since the 1970’s we have been developing and implementing countermeasure procedures to educate children, parents, teachers, law enforcement personnel and total communities. We are in the beta testing stages of the next generation of materials. These new materials are brought forward by the children (now adults with kids) that were involved and trained with the original program. This next generation of developers offers tools and experiences never before imagined in an injury prevention program. They have survived their Journeys from Home and share a committed appreciation for quality education. It is their experiences and observations that make this new generation of materials come to life.


At the completion of this initial effort “Journeys From Home Montana” will hold and maintain a web site that contains immediate access to international research and recommendations to maintain a sustainable non-motorized community transportation plan.

Many teaching materials will be free, downloadable and ready for immediate use; activities ranging from preschool, elementary, middle school, young adults and veteran riders through CyclingSavvy.

An on-line Teacher Training/Mentor component will be available and continually updated.

This website will become a home for parents, children, administrators, instructors, teachers and researchers to share insight and concerns.


Journeys From Home Montana staff and volunteers have presented information at local regional and national events, listed here: Community workshops

For more information about Journeys From Home Montana or any of their workshops, please contact:

Roger DiBrito, Executive Director


Columbus Senior Center Diabetes Class

The Columbus Senior Citizens Center will be hosting a fun and interactive wellness course teaching participants about diabetes and pre-diabetes. Montana ranks 8th in the country in diabetes rates with 8.8% of people diagnosed (Americas Health Ratings)

Did you know…..

29.1 million people or 9.3% of the population have diabetes.

Diagnosed:21.0 million people.

Undiagnosed:8.1 million people (27.8% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed). (CDC)


Profile of the Week: Crow Men's Health

The Crow Men’s Health Project

A partnership between Montana State University faculty and Crow men to work collaboratively to identify and address health issues of concern

The Crow Men’s Health Project began in 2007 as a partnership between Montana State University faculty and Crow men to work collaboratively to identify and address health issues of concern. Differing from other forms of research that typically involve a researcher bringing a project into a community and making it fit, this program hinges on a technique called community-based participatory research (CBPR), a research method in which community members and researchers work together. Researchers and members from the Crow community work together to establish trust, share power, and foster co-learning while addressing community-identified needs and health problems.

The partnership is coordinated by MSU researcher Paul Lachapelle, Boise State University researcher Tim Dunnagan and a five-member Crow Men’s Health Advisory Council responsible for creating a research environment to successful conduct research, interpret results, and determine how results should be used for action. Community meetings open to Crow men of all ages have been held at different locations on the reservation, and health experts have been brought in to present health data collected from existing sources. While working together to identify health problems, the issues identified by meeting attendees have been cancer, obesity, alcohol related diseases, diabetes, mental illness and heart disease. The Advisory Council has decided to focus on prostate and colorectal cancer; topics that have been raised repeatedly and discussed at length in community meetings.

Since the project began, the partnership has continued to show many positive results. The new collaborative effort has held numerous community meetings, received approval and support of the Crow tribal Chairmen, organized a tribal Ride for Health ceremony with 70 men participating in traditional attire to raise health awareness, and is drafting a formal tribal endorsement to be introduced into the Crow legislature. From here the project will continue community meetings, design data collection methods to better understand present and future health-related needs, and pursue long-term funding to address prostate-colorectal cancer interventions.

For more information, please visit

Profile of the Week: Strong Women

Strong Women

The primary objective of the StrongWomen™ Program is to help communities nationwide to implement safe and  effective strength training programs for midlife and older women.

Women begin to show decline in muscle mass beginning at age 30 and if this condition is not reversed, women will have reduced strength and other severe consequences as they age. Women need to maintain a healthy level of muscle mass at all ages for optimal health through weight lifting two or more times per week,  but only 17.5% of women meet these recommendations. The Strong Women program, developed by Tufts University, is designed for women to increase muscle strength by strength training for 2-3 sessions per week for fourteen weeks. This strength training program is now being offered through MSU Extension offices in Montana, and the results have been inspiring.  Participation, improved functional strength and balance, and a strong sense of camaraderie and achievement are positive outcomes for Montana’s rural women. These trainings are conducted by Extension educators who have been certified to teach Strong Women programs.

About Strong Women:
The StrongWomen™  program is an evidence-based strength training program developed by the staff of  the Hancock Center at the Friedman School at Tufts University. The primary objective of the StrongWomen™ Program is to help communities nationwide to implement safe and  effective strength training programs for midlife and older women.

Who should attend trainings:
* Professional and community leaders who are working with a non-profit and are interested in the fields of public health, nutrition and exercise or wellness should attend.

* Potential program leaders should be regularly lifting weights/strength training, be in good physical health, and be able to collaborate with local agencies or organizations to provide the Strong Women program in their community.


For a list of all locations and contact information, click here



CATCHThe CATCH Program established that healthy habits in childhood can promote behavior changes that can last a lifetime.

CATCH stands for a Coordinated Approach To Child Health.  CATCH  is a coordinated school health program that promotes physical activity, healthy foods and tobacco prevention. CATCH reaches kids from preschool through 8th grade and has been implemented in thousands of schools across America and Canada. In 2003, St. Patrick Hospital saw a need in Western Montana for a childhood obesity prevention program, and they adopted CATCH because it is evidence-based and supported by a national program.

CATCH school, after school and early childhood programs can be found in all 50 states, Canada and US Department of Defense Schools around the world.  Most school districts adopt and support the program on their own; St. Patrick Hospital’s structure however, is unique.  St. Patrick Hospital sponsors CATCH in over a dozen Western Montana school districts and community sites through the funding of curriculum materials and one staff member, who gives on-going technical support and training.  Today, Missoula CATCH is considered a community wide CATCH program that can be found in all Missoula County Public Schools and community events.  Locals are talking the CATCH talk!

CATCH is effective because healthy behaviors are reinforced through a coordinated approach – in the classroom, in the cafeteria, in physical education, at home, and after school. And, most importantly, CATCH makes it fun to learn about healthy behaviors!


Five Components of CATCH:

1. CATCH – Physical Activity

2. Go for Health – Classroom Curriculum

3. Eat Smart – School Nutrition

4. Home Team – Family Activities

5. Community – Implemented Programs

In Physical Education

Combines high energy, non-elimination activities with teaching strategies that keep kids moving and having fun. CATCH PE significantly increases physical activity levels of students during PE class, and provides for a variety of learning experiences for students of all abilities

In the Classroom

Teaches children to identify, practice, and adopt healthy eating and physical activity habits. Hands-on activities encourage changes in behavior that support healthful eating and physical activity patterns to reduce the risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and obesity.

In the Cafeteria

The CATCH Program considers school cafeterias an extension of the classroom. Through the Eat Smart component, breakfast and lunch become opportunities for children to learn, practice, and adopt healthy eating habits. School food service personnel prepare healthier meals and help coordinate healthy messages with the rest of the school.

At Home

The CATCH Family component is designed to get students, parents, and extended family members involved in practicing and adopting healthy eating and physical activity behaviors at home. By doing so, the home environment becomes an extension of the CATCH Program at school.

In the Community

CATCH Kids Club (CKC) is a physical activity and nutrition education program designed for after-school and summer settings. CKC is user-friendly that both children and staff enjoy!

Lisa Tims – CATCH Coordinator

St. Patrick Hospital

500 W. Broadway, Missoula, MT 59802


Phone:  406-329-5759



Livingston Health Care Programs


Livingston HealthCare serves and strengthens the Park County region as a healthcare provider, as the county’s largest employer, and as a community citizen. Beyond the healthcare services we provide, they offer community benefit services and programs that promote health, healing and overall well-being.


Livingston HealthCare helps to prepare your child for life and learning with this free check-up performed by pediatric specialists from Livingston HealthCare, Community Health Partners, the Park County Special Education Coop, Head Start and Family Outreach. For children birth to five years old these screenings assess readiness for learning and life and include:

  • Physical check-up
  • Physical skills check-up
  • Speech & language check-up
  • Learning readiness check
  • Hearing screen
  • Snacks and other fun activities

An annual free screening event is held each fall. Mini-screenings are offered once a month at Livingston HealthCare.

The Athlete Wellness Program is Livingston HealthCare’s commitment to Park County school sports. Livingston HealthCare encourages 12-17 year olds to get a “Good to Go!” annual checkup. The 30-minute visit includes a thorough physical evaluation, vision exam, growth check, and education with a healthcare provider to prepare teens for summer activities, school sports, and life. Each year they provide more than 500 checkups at discounted rates to prepare students for the new school and sports year. Designed to improve The program is provided each summer on specific days to Park County student athletes.

Athlete Wellness

The Athlete Wellness Program includes one free orthopedic examination and two free visits to a physical therapist to take action on injuries received during a school sports practice or game. Although other services that may be needed during the exam such as e-rays, MRI, lab work, etc. are not included for free, most of these services are covered by most insurance plans.  All students need to do is mention their status as a student athlete and Livingston Health Care will get students in as soon as possible—to get them back to their sport and their team.

Free Clinical Breast Exams 

The American Cancer Society recommends that women under age 40 should have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year, including a screening mammogram. Free clinical breast exam appointments are now available at Livingston HealthCare as part of Paint Park County Pink, a program to increase awareness about breast health and breast cancer prevention.

Livingston HealthCare Mammogram Program

Livingston HealthCare’s goal is to ensure that women in Park, Sweet Grass, and Meagher counties have access to annual mammograms.The Livingston HealthCare Mammogram Fund helps provide access to mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women, thanks to a grant from the Montana Affiliate of Komen for the Cure. The program guidelines have been created to complement the Montana Breast and Cervical Health Program to serve as many women as possible.


Livingston HealthCare’s Mammogram Program covers screening and diagnostic mammograms and breast ultrasounds for women:

  • Aged 49 and under (including women under 40 where a mammogram is medically necessary)
  • Who have no insurance or a high deductible
  • Who meet the income requirements (see website for more information)
  • Who live in Park, Sweet Grass, or Meagher Counties

Health Screens

A health screen is a great way to get a basic overview of your current state of health. Health screens are available at Livingston Memorial Hospital on a walk-in basis in addition to the annual Fall and Spring health Fairs! The testing includes a blood profile and coronary heart disease risk evaluation. The screen will also check:

  • Glucose
  • Creatinine
  • Uric Acid
  • Potassium and Sodium
  • TSH
  • Hematocrit
  • Cholesterol
  • Triglyceride
  • HDL-Cholesterol
  • LDL-Cholesterol