kidsLINK Afterschool Program

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Afterschool Works for Students, Families, and the Economy

kidsLINK Afterschool Informational Brochure

Montana Afterschool Facts:

Afterschool boosts student success, keeps kids safe, and helps parents keep their jobs. The demand for afterschool and summer learning opportunities far exceeds the supply in Montana; 1 out of every 5 applications for 21st Century Community Learning Centers cannot be funded, leaving communities without the supports they need for children and youth in the hours after school and during the summer.  A nationwide study of students who regularly attend 21st Century Community Learning Centers found:  

  • 65% improved their class participation and homework completion  
  • 57% improved their classroom behavior
  • nearly half improved their math and Language Arts grades
  • Click for more MT Facts on Afterschool

Greater Gallatin United Way kidsLINK Afterschool Program, 2017-18 School Year:

Greater Gallatin United Way is proud to offer quality, affordable out-of-school time programming for your family during the 2017-18 school year.  Programs do not have a cap in size, but your child must be registered to attend.  Registration will open on this website the week of August 14.   kidsLINK Afterschool was established in 1997 in response to an identified need in our rural communities; to keep children safe after school while their parents finished their work day.  kidsLINK Afterschool now operates in 29 school-based/linked locations across 4 counties and served nearly 2,000 children every day. kidsLINK is a fun, safe environment providing rich opportunities for learning,  personal growth, and building relationships.  Its success is the result of strong partnerships with schools, school districts, MSU, Gallatin County 4-H and other local organizations.  Click for History of kidsLINK Afterschool 

kidsLINK Afterschool Communities:   Amsterdam * Belgrade * Big Sky * Big Timber *  Bozeman  *  Gardiner  *  Livingston  *  Manhattan  *  Pray  *  Three Forks  *  West Yellowstone  *  White Sulphur Springs

Bozeman Locations (Click to enroll):   Chief Joseph Middle School  *  Emily Dickinson  *  Hawthorne  *  Hyalite  *  Irving  *  Longfellow  *   Meadowlark  *   Morning Star  *   Whittier  

Belgrade Locations (Click to enroll):    Belgrade Middle School  *  Heck/Quaw  *  Ridge View  *  Saddle Peak

kidsLINK Afterschool 6 Goals:

  1. Ensure no child is home alone by providing quality, affordable out of school programming that supports and engages working families  
  2. Enhance student health by providing nutritious daily snacks and nutrition education
  3. Strengthen student well-being by providing daily physical activity with a focus on lifelong fitness
  4. Promote student academic success by providing tutoring, homework and reading support
  5. Develop student interest and spark a passion for learning by providing enrichment activities
  6. Foster student mental and emotional well-being through quality staffing and ongoing professional     

                                      Questions?  Please call 406.587.2194 or

History of kidsLINK Afterschool:

Greater Gallatin United Way (GGUW) has provided afterschool programming for over 20-years.  In 1997, GGUW provided an $8,000 "venture grant".  A priority need for the Three Forks community was to keep children safe, while parents finished their work days.  The community came together to be part of the solution.  Rather than investing these funds into transporting children to another location, paying rent, or investing in a new building, a more practical and economically viable solution was established; to partner with the school district and utilize existing assets to house the program.  This partnership model leveraged the city as the fiscal agent, the school district as the administrative oversight, and GGUW as the funding source.  The result...  the first afterschool program supporting working families and local businesses was established in Three Forks, Montana.

By 2000, other rural school districts were asking for afterschool programs.  GGUW submitted their first grant proposal to Mountain Sky Guest Ranch Foundation.  The awarded funds helped to expand afterschool programs to other rural communities, including Monforton, W. Yellowstone, Manhattan, Gardiner, Big Sky, Belgrade and Bozeman.

Today, kidsLINK Afterschool has over 3,400 children enrolled, operates in 29 school-based/linked locations across 4 counties, and serves over 1,600 children every day.  kidsLINK Afterschool is more than a safe place; it provides rich opportunities for learning, personal growth, and building relationships.  Parents, children, schools and businesses depend on kidsLINK Afterschool.

The success of this program is the result of strong partnerships, effective collaboration and utilizing existing community resources to fulfill an important community need.  As the lead agency, GGUW coordinates the work of schools and school districts, government agencies, private funders, programs and others involved to deliver a successful, sustainable, replicable, accessible afterschool model.  GGUW is responsible for the administration, funding, evaluation, and reporting, while partner schools and school districts hire and supervise the staff and generously donate facilities.  Area nonprofit organizations, such as Gallatin County 4-H, community libraries, MSU and others offer support through curriculum implementation, staff development, tutoring/homework support, parent liaison referrals, enrichment activities, and research.

Programs are available for all children, regardless of their ability to pay. GGUW awards nearly $300,000 annually in scholarships to families who might not have another option, but for their children to be alone afterschool.  Studies show that children without access to afterschool programming are more likely to engage in high risk behaviors and spending time with caring adults increases self-confidence and decreases engagement in high risk behaviors.  In addition, kidsLINK Afterschool provides homework and tutoring support, which results in increased academic achievement, as well as more quality family time during the evening.  Finally, afterschool programming provides a bridge between out-of-school experiences and in-school learning; increasing interest in education and school itself.

The annual operating cost for the program is over $1 million annually.  Without the in-kind donation of school space and school assets, the cost would easily double.  Revenues to help support the program are generated from three entities in almost equal amounts - - 26 grant awards, generous donations and parent fees.

As our communities grow, so do the demands on afterschool programming.  kidsLINK Afterschool is an essential program for children, families and employers.  Our goal is to ensure that ALL our kids are safe and engaged every day.

For more information, contact Megan Brenna, kidsLINK Afterschool Program Director at 406.587.2194 or

kidsLINK Afterschool Program needs your support!

Individuals and employers can take part in sustaining this vital community program.  

Funding for kidsLINK Afterschool


Program Partners


   Montana STEM Academy of Young Kids