When COVID-19 struck this spring, Young Life Montana was opening new chapters across the state. Restrictions on group meetings, however, prompted the youth outreach organization to pivot, according to Montana-Wyoming Director Keith Dow.
Young Life members still wanted to meet and Young Lives teen moms needed increased help. Both groups responded. “Kids today have a whole life in the virtual world. We meet them there,” says Dow. Young Life offered Zoom bible studies, online tutoring and scavenger hunts, and phone conversations with team leaders.
Young Lives, meanwhile, “ramped up quite a bit,” says Dow. Group leaders delivered food and supplies to moms. They organized Netflix watch parties and helped moms navigate government resources. A virtual T-Rex delivered Easter candy, and a Zoom cooking show—complete with recipes and groceries delivered to moms’ doorsteps—developed skills and a sense of community.
Through word of mouth, the Flathead area Young Lives group grew from 12 girls to over 30 within two months. “Word got out that if you need help, these people will help you,” says Dow.