“Hope isn’t canceled,” says Kristy Pontet-Stroop of Alliance for Youth in Great Falls. The organization inspires the community to stay socially connected through healthy activities that support the well-being and skill development of homeless and at-risk youth. A March “Chalk the Walk” event drew passers-by with positive sidewalk messaging, and a daily “Bear Hunt” encourages residents to walk their neighborhoods in search of virtual bears peering through home and storefront windows.
The Alliance for Youth Facebook page presents directions for making puffy sidewalk chalk, disinfectant wipes, and “How to Mail a Hug,” as well as tips for sober living and how to be a good citizen. Their Parent Café YouTube channel provides live weekly broadcasts, while one-on-one, online check-ins keep young people on a healthy track. “Social distancing doesn’t need to be social isolation,” Pontet-Stroop says.
Look for their new Youth Resource Center to open behind Super One Foods, after the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.