Thanks to the generosity of the Tykeson Family Foundation, Echo Fund, SCHEELS, First Interstate Bank, and an anonymous donor, Friends of the Children – Montana (Friends-Montana) will launch in the summer of 2021! Our vision is that one day, every child in Montana who is in - or at risk of entering - foster care will have a Friend: a paid, professional mentor who stays with them from kindergarten through high school graduation, 12+ years – no matter what. Friends-Montana will initially begin selecting children in the Missoula area, in partnership with the local nonprofits and the education system. Each child selected will be paired with a Friend whose full-time job will be to spend four hours a week with each child. Friends will support youth—and by extension their families—for 12+ years, building trusting relationships through a trauma-informed lens that provides critical social, emotional and academic support.