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



The mission of Thrive is to encourage healthy family and child development through community awareness, parent education and support to children and families ensuring positive outcomes for children. This is done through multiple programs:

Child Advancement Program (CAP):

The Child Advancement Project (CAP) matches nurturing community mentors who provide support and encouragement to children in Bozeman schools grades K-12 during the school day.  Established in 1989, CAP is one of the first school-based mentoring programs, and matches over 500 students and volunteers each year.  These mentors work one-on-one with children to increase academic and social competency.  They help students establish meaningful goals and develop a belief in their individual uniqueness and their ability to shape their own futures.  The mentor’s efforts work to complement those of the student’s teacher and family.

Mentors are able to choose the age of their student (K-12), and the day and time of the week they will visit.  After mentors are screened, trained and supervised by CAP coordinators, they meet at their student’s school 1 hour a week for the entire school year.

Thrive is proud to announce that the CAP program has been named to the National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices. In 2009 Thrive received a Service to Science grant and used the money to assess the impact of CAP. An article detailing the research was submitted to the School Community Journal and will be published sometime this fall.

Girls for a Change:

The mission is to bring girls, women, and other community members together to empower girls to embrace their future.  Supported by parents, friends, and mentors, girls are able to gain confidence about their individuality and secure in their ability to lead and achieve self-sufficiency, fulfillment and success.

Founded in Bozeman in January 1997 by sixteen girls and their female mentors, Girls for a Change has been devoted to encouraging the healthy development of girls. The group has sponsored a number of activities including team building activities, journaling workshops, community-based mother-daughter groups, challenge courses, communication skills seminars and an annual local conference.

Beginning in 2005, 124 high school girls, ages 13-18, attended the “Opening Doors” one-day event held at Montana State University. The conference was planned “for girls, by girls” and centered on assets, opportunities and resources. During the conference, participants learned strategies to communicate effectively and cope with stress and anxiety. Girls also discovered how to enrich their lives through civic engagement and examined educational and career opportunities. Interacting with local, professional and inspirational business women, participants explored stereotypes of women in the media, discussed world issues facing today’s women and increased self-awareness and confidence through creative writing, yoga, and improvisation.

Since 2005, Girls and adult community members have worked together to create and host an annual conference at Montana State University. Both middle school and high school girls plan and participate in the conferences.

Recently, they have:

  • Successfully hosted their 8th Annual Girls for a Change 100% Possible Conference for 185 girls from 34 Montana communities!
  • Participated in the Aspire Conference hosted by the Women’s Foundation of Montana.
  • Hosted a group of Brazilian exchange students to participate in dialogue about what is 100% positive in our lives.
  • Celebrated real beauty during “Love Your Body Day”.
  • Participated in Clean Up Bozeman Day by cleaning up the area around Bozeman High School
  • Celebrated sustainability by hosting a “Water Challenge” booth at the Clean Up Bozeman Day Sustainability Fair.
  • Improved a trail bed with Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

Parent Liaison Program:

Liaisons help parents: Work in partnership with schools to enhance opportunities for their child’s success, access community resources, and assist parents in developing effective parenting strategies based on their child’s stage of development.

Liaisons, who work within Bozeman schools, assist teachers in engaging parent support and help teachers to handle families issues which relate to the child’s school performance.  Liaisons facilitate effective communication between school and parent while assisting parents in increasing their ability to advocate with schools on their children’s behalf.

Visit the website for tips on:

  • Babysitting & childcare
  • Blended Families
  • Bullying
  • Conflict
  • Discipline
  • Eating
  • Family Time
  • Manners
  • Potty Training & Bedtime
  • Resiliency
  • Safety
  • School & Learning
  • Self-esteem
  • Siblings
  • Stress
  • Swearing
  • Teenagers

The Parent Place:

The Parent Place is a local family resource center providing education, support, and resources for all parents.  Some of the programs offered at the Parent Place include:  Play groups, gym day, single parent group,  Dads nights, ages and stages, Parenting With Love and Logic courses, and one-on-one parenting consultations.

Playgroups are designed to help parents of children age birth-three expand their support networks. This group brings families together and gets them out of the house and helps them feel connected. Playgroup meets every Monday and is one of the most popular groups.

Gym Day is for parents and toddlers to have a place to go and socialize and be able to actively play on Winter days. The Parent Place provides toys and the school districts in Bozeman and Belgrade provide a gym to use for one hour in each community. The average number of parents and children for a gym day in a week is 96 people.

Dad’s Days are for all Dads, Uncles, Grandfathers, and male role-models and the children they adore.  Encouraging healthy relationships through fun-filled activities is the focus of this program.

Love and Logic Parenting classes are a signature program of Thrive, and all classes take place from 6-8pm.  Childcare is provided at a minimal cost for most classes. Pre registration is required, and the cost is $100 per individual and $175 per couple.

One-on-One parenting consultations are also made with families to help them become the best parents they can be and connect them to helpful resources within the community.

Partnership Project:

The Partner Project helps young parents with children age birth to 5 get off to a good start.  Thrive, Gallatin City-County Health Department, and the Young Parent Program work together to provide home visits, parenting classes and groups, child care, health care, education and support accessing other community services.

Support workers connect families to appropriate community resources, and help parents feel confidence and support in their parenting efforts.  These partnerships help parents communicate their frustrations and ask help with parenting concerns.  Support workers help parents set goals and work with them to provide the necessary resources to achieve their goals.

 For more information about Thrive, visit the website at:


Sage Gardeners

Reconnecting seniors to their gardening roots one accessible garden at a time.

Sage Gardeners is a non-profit philanthropic organization based out of Bozeman, MT. Their goal is to reconnect senior citizens in either retirement communities or private residences with their gardening roots by providing easily accessible raised gardens. Sage Gardeners believes it is important that seniors have easily accessible organic vegetable gardens because they provide quality organic produce, physical activity and social interaction for seniors. Raised gardens are constructed so that they are easy to access and do not require seniors to be on their knees or bent over in order to plant or take care of the vegetables.

Sage Gardeners began in 2010 with a vision to make accessible gardens available to seniors in Gallatin county. The first gardens were built for the Parkhaven Retirement Community in Manhattan, MT with funding assistance from the Rural Health Initiative Incubator Mini-Grant Program. In 2011, gardens were built for the Summerwood/Spring Run Retirement Community in Bozeman, MT also with funds from the Incubator Mini-Grant Program. Both of these garden projects are ongoing and had bountiful harvests since they began.

Gardens have also been built for several seniors living in private residences around Gallatin county. The private residence project focuses mainly on low to moderate income seniors in Montana. Sage Gardeners will create, build and assist in maintaining raised organic vegetable gardens in the private backyards of Montana seniors. They will assist in planting and harvesting, as well as assisting in maintaining the gardens annually and/ or aiding in purchasing fresh compost, mulch, plants, and seeds for the following years. The organization will provide ongoing support to the individuals based on each senior’s needs and abilities.  The goal of this project is to provide as many gardens as possible as funding allows.

Currently Sage Gardeners is focusing on providing gardens to retirement communities and private residences in the Gallatin county. However the long-term goal of Sage Gardeners is to provide accessible raised garden beds for retirement communities and private residences statewide.


Interested in learning more about Sage Gardeners or how you can help them grow?

Visit their website:



Bozone Ozone Bus

The Bozone Ozone Bus (BOB) is a fully functional “greenhouse on wheels,” made from a converted school bus.

The Bozone Ozone Bus (BOB) is fully operational thanks to the efforts and inspiration of Bozeman’s youth via the Bozeman Youth Initiative (BYI). BOB is a fully functional “greenhouse on wheels,” made from a converted school bus, an idea that grew out of a conversation between BYI director, Greg Owens, and a local student. The bio diesel fueled bus is on a mission to educate youth by conducting traveling educational exhibit, with high school and college-age students hosting workshops for elementary school students about important environmental issues such as:  greenhouse design, plant life and natural cycles, seeds, germination, transplants, growth, harvesting, soil vs. hydroponic growing methods, recycling, solar energy, compost generation and management, bio-fuels, rainwater entrapment, sustainability and more.

In addition to the planned goals for the project, BOB has also proved to have many unforeseen effects on the community. The bus has united such groups as the Montana Outdoor Science School, MSU Horticulture Club, Gallatin Valley Farm-to-School, Bozeman High School (BHS) recycling club, Hawk Tawk and TV, Irving School and even the BHS metal shop class.

From an unlikely concept, Bozeman’s youth have once again proven that nothing is impossible for those who dream big. The dream, a greenhouse bus that can travel around and educate the entire community, will travel in the spring to local schools to plant tomatoes, basil, cilantro, peppers and other key pizza ingredients, and in the fall these ingredients will be harvested so local schools can have a fresh take on the traditional pizza party.

As BOB tours the local scene this summer, older and younger generations of kids will bond over locally grown, fresh food.


For more information about the BOB or other Bozeman Youth Initiative programs please visit their website:

Discovery Walks Logo

Discovery Walks


Discovery Walks: Trail Exploration Series

Discovery Walks Logo

Explore a trail, learn something new, and meet a friend at a free, one-hour, guided trail walk on the Main Street to the Mountains trail system. The Discovery Walk series goes from June through August and features a number of activities and educational topics.


Program Description

“We knew that there were people in our community who were intimidated by trails or didn’t know where to start. A guided trail walk is a way to introduce the trail system and help people navigate and explore new areas with someone else who is familiar with it. Trails connect the community and so these walks are also a way for people to meet their neighbors.” – EJ Porth, Communications and Outreach Manager at Gallatin Valley Land Trust

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  • Discovery Walks are hosted 9-12 times per month on a number of different trails in the community
  • Each walk is unique and has an associated theme such as history talks, wildflower identification, yoga, children’s nature walks, meditation, photography and many more
  • The walks are one-hour in length so that they can be accessible to people with busy schedules
  • All walks are free
  • anyone is welcome to attend the walks, from small children to seniors
  • Meeting locations are included on a google map on their website
  • At the end of each walk, participants are given a trail map so they can learn to navigate more trails on their own


Program Highlights

“We had a participant who told us that she had lived in Bozeman for 20 years but had never been on Peets Hill (Bozeman’s most iconic and popular trail). When asked why she said she just didn’t have anyone to go with. Trails can be intimidating if you’re not used to using them. This program helped people explore a new trail in a safe and fun environment. Some wanted to learn something new and some wanted to meet new friends. People came for different reasons but all seemed to get something out of it.” -EJ Porth


Target Population: Seniors, low-income, newcomers, novice trail users

Website URL:

Partner Organizations:  City of Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department

Current Funding Sources:  Private Family Foundation Grant


Contact Information:

EJ Porth

Communications and Outreach Manager at Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Phone: 406-587-8404 ext. 8


Mailing Address: PO Box 7021 Bozeman, MT 59771


MT CVD and Diabetes Prevention Program logo

Montana Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Program

Diverse Montana Communities Deliver Lifestyle Change Program to Prevent Diabetes

Since 2008, Montana communities have been helping prevent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among adults at high risk through the Montana Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Program (CVDDPP).  The 10-month CVDDPP is based upon research evidence that intensive lifestyle change can prevent or delay the development of diabetes by 58% among adults at high risk.1

Lifestyle coaches educate and motivate participants to develop and maintain healthier eating and physical activity habits, which lead to weight loss and control.  These lifestyle coaches are registered dietitians, registered nurses, cardiac rehabilitation nurses, and exercise specialists trained to deliver the CVDDPP.

Eligibility criteria for the CVDDPP are based upon risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Adults aged 18 years and over with a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥25 kg/m2, medical clearance from a doctor, a commitment to lifestyle change, and one of the following may participate:

  • History of pre-diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, or impaired fasting glucose
  • History of gestational diabetes or birth to a baby weighing >9 lbs
  • High blood pressure (≥130/85 mmHg or treatment)
  • Dyslipidemia (triglycerides >150 mg/dL, LDL cholesterol >130 mg/dL or treatment, or HDL cholesterol <40 mg/dL for men and <50 mg/dL for women)
  • A1C between 5.7% to 6.4%


In Montana, an estimated 185,000 adults over age 20 have pre-diabetes.3 The rate of diabetes reported by adult Montanans increased from 2.8% in 1990 to 7.0% in 2010.4  Based on these rates, it is estimated that nearly 70,000 adult Montanans have diagnosed diabetes.5  Over 8% of deaths in Montana are diabetes-related.6


Participating in the program is an effective way to slow these trends.  Over 2,000 Montanans have participated in the prevention program since it began in 2008.  Here are the average 10 month program results:

  • Weight loss of 15.4 lbs
  • Blood pressure reduction from 133/81 mmHg to 127/78 mmHg
  • LDL cholesterol reduction from 123 mg/dL to 119 mg/DL
  • HDL cholesterol increase from 49 mg/dL to 51 mg/dL
  • Fasting blood glucose reduction from 102 mg/dL to 97 mg/dL


Fourteen sites and four telehealth sites currently deliver the CVDDPP in communities designated8 as

  • Urban: Billings
  • Rural: Missoula, Kalispell, Great Falls, Helena, Butte, Bozeman
  • Frontier: Libby, Choteau, Dillon, Baker, Colstrip, Ekalaka, Forsyth,  Miles City


Go to to contact the site near you, read news and journal articles, and learn more.  For more information, contact Diane Arave, the Montana Diabetes Project Quality Improvement Specialist in Prevention, at or (406) 444-0593.


References and Data Sources

1. Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, Hamman RF, Lachin JM, Walker EA, Nathan DM; Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group: Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med 2002;346:393–402.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Diabetes Statistics, 2007 fact sheet. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 2008.

4. Montana DPHHS, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

5. U.S. Census Bureau: State and County QuickFacts.

6. Montana DPHHS, Office of Vital Statistics.

7. Vanderwood KK, Hall TO, Harwell TS, Butcher MK, Helgerson SD. The Montana Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Prevention Workgroup. Implementing a state-based cardiovascular disease and diabetes prevention program. Diab Care 2010;33:2543–2545.


Hey Parents, looking for some summertime fun for the kids?

Come down to The Best Western GranTree Inn, in Bozeman Montana, on June 21st for a full day of activities!


The Kid-a-Palooza is a fun summer event featuring different companies, organizations, fundraisers and much more that relates to kids ranging from 3 to 19! Enjoy face painting, a bike safety clinic by the Bozeman Police Department, a bouncy house, and the kids can meet Scruff McGruff the Crime Dog! Many different health professionals – such as chiropractors, dentists, and much more – will also be attending this event. Partnering with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Thrive and Haven, this community event is free and a great way to kick off some summertime fun!


For more information, call Callie Johnerson, Assistant General Manager of the Best Western Plus GranTree Inn

P:406-587-5261       E:      M: 1325 N 7th Ave Bozeman MT






Native AIR

Native AIR (Asthma Intervention & Reduction) is a program coordinated by Montana State University Extension Service Housing & Environmental Quality Program. The program seeks to help children understand the triggers of asthma in order to prevent or control its onset.


Montana State University Extension is a unique organization serving all the people of Montana with research, skills and knowledge from Montana State University in Bozeman.  Extension Family and Consumer Sciences professionals serve people and families of all shapes and sizes, providing what people need to make informed decisions and suggestions on change.  By pooling expertise in food and nutrition, housing, health, family issues, personal finances, and environmental health, the Extension network provides innovative and targeted programs based on the needs of families, individuals, businesses and communities.  The Extension programs blend educational resources across disciplines to provide integrated programs the respond to needs.

Native AIR was a three-year effort  funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The goal of Native AIR is to develop, implement and evaluate a culturally specific asthma education program for reservation-based families.  While the grant has ended, information is still being widely distributed on the seven reservations in Montana; Native AIR is providing culturally specific marketing and outreach materials such as “Asthma Trigger Packs” loaded with asthma education materials.  The materials will continue to aid the adults and children with assessing their home for asthma triggers and how to prevent and control those asthma triggers.  To assure asthma triggers are kept in check, children have also been provided with a fun Asthma Journal to develop an asthma-reduction action plan and record all daily aspects of their progress.

Project Community Leaders on each reservation are looking into creative ways to reach the youth in their communities about asthma and the triggers that may exist in their homes.  Strong partnerships with organizations such as 4-H youth groups, Boys & Girls Club, and Early Head Start have been made along the way.  Area meetings are held to educate older children about asthma, helping them to serve as mentors to educate their parents and younger children about asthma trigger information and prevention.

For more information, please visit

Headwaters Annual Run/Walk

This year’s annual Headwaters Run/Walk will be held July 27th in Three Forks!


The Headwaters Run/Walk is an annual fundraising event held by the Missouri Headwaters Trail System and the city of Three Forks. All of the proceeds are used to build more trails and maintain existing trails. The run starts at Veteran’s Park in Three Forks and continues  along the trail system providing great views of the river and surrounding mountains. There are three different events participants can enter, a 5K, 10K and a half marathon. This year the half marathon will begin at 7:30 am and the 5 and 10K will start at 8:00 am. Last summer 145 runners and walkers joined in the racing fun and raised about $5,000!  New trails as well as benches and trail signs will be constructed this summer with the funds raised last year.


If you’re looking to participate in a fun run or walk this summer put the Headwaters Walk/Run on your calendar! The scenery is breathtaking, the money goes to a great cause and donations are tax deductible.


Follow this link to download the race application: Headwaters Run/Walk Entry Form

For more information please contact: Lotse Townsend at:

(406)-599-7791 or email at

Gallatin Valley F2S

Gallatin Valley Farm to School

Gallatin Valley F2S

Gallatin Valley Farm to School (GVF2S) was started in February 2007 by a Steering Committee of committed and concerned parents and community members.

Today GVF2S is a collaboration between many diverse organizations, such as parent councils of various schools in the area, Bozeman School District Food Service, Montana Outdoor Science School, The Community Food Co-op, , Montana State University, and Grow Montana’s FoodCorps VISTA program. Gallatin Valley Farm to School is a local nonprofit organization.

Farm to school programming has emerged as an important avenue through which to effectively address both food available in the school environment and healthy eating behaviors. Research has shown improved participation in school meals as a result of Farm to School programming along with improved student knowledge relative to identifying certain foods, the source of their food and attitudes toward trying new, healthy food items.

A significant need for Farm to School programming exists throughout Montana. Farm to school programming is a proven avenue for connecting local food producers to the schools in their communities. The benefits of these relationships are numerous and include improved access to fresh, nutritious foods for school children, increased understanding and appreciation for agriculture among these students and their families, and improved economic viability for local food producers.

School fundraising activities have been recognized as an important food access point in the school environment. In fact, school wellness policies often target fundraising specifically as an important area of intervention when addressing food available at school. With Montana being a largely agricultural state, many creative and wholesome food products are produced right here. Exposing students and their families to these Montana-made healthy food items through a Made-in-Montana school fundraising project served to 1)benefit the school organizations through the raising of needed funds, 2) benefit the Montana food producer by gaining increased exposure for their products and 3) improve the overall school nutrition environment.

In 2010, the fundraiser was offered at six schools: Morning Star, Gallatin Gateway, Irving, Whittier, Hawthorne and Longfellow. This fundraiser is perfect opportunity to snag Made in Montana holiday gifts for friends and family with a spread of roasted cereals and granola, specialty lentils and barley, fresh herbed delicacies, huckleberry preserves, syrups and honey, fresh winter produce, and greeting cards featuring beautiful locally grown produce.

In honor of the first National Farm to School Month,  October 2011, Gallatin Valley Farm to School has put together a resource to help educators celebrate this event as well as tie in with the Harvest Montana Fundraiser which several schools and groups are participating in this month. This toolkit includes resources available through GVF2S as well as suggested short videos, films, books, and more!

The toolkit can be accessed online at: