kidsLINK Afterschool Program

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Quality * Convenient * Fun * Affordable Out-of-School Time Care 

Children, families, employers - - our community relies on kidsLINK Afterschool Program.

Impact Outcomes for kidsLINK Afterschool Program

  • Every student has a safe, nurturing, and engaging place to be out of school regardless of ability to pay; 
  • Families experience improved financial stability;
  • Parents experience less stress as a result of their child participating in kidsLINK;
  • Students discover a spark or passion for learning, and;
  • Parents are ACES-informed and are informed of community resources

Impact Strategies for kidsLINK Afterschool Program

  • Ensure adequate funding for program and scholarships via diverse funding streams;
  • Establish an active "United For kidsLINK" affinity group;
  • Provide quality well-informed staff through professional development opportunities and support for trauma-sensitive practices;
  • Provide meaningful parent engagement and education opportunities;
  • Support student academics and passion for learning through homework and tutoring support; 
  • Integrate STEM activities, book and tech clubs and other enrichment activities to spark a passion, and;
  • Promote and integrate more volunteer opportunities within the program.  

About kidsLINK Afterschool Program  

Greater Gallatin United Way kidsLINK Afterschool Program was established in 1997 in Three Forks.  Rural communities were struggling to keep children safe after school while parents finished their work day.  kidsLINK Afterschool has grown!  It operates at 32 school-based/linked locations across 4 counties and serves over 1,200 children every day, with over 2,600 enrolled.  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, Gallatin Farm To School, and other local organizations. Today, kidsLINK is more than a safe place, it supports academic success through tutoring, homework and reading support; strengthens well-being with daily physical activities; expands interests and sparks passion for learning through a variety of enrichment activities; fosters mental and emotional well-being through skilled and well-trained staff; enhances health with daily snacks and nutrition education; and supports working families by ensuring no child has to be home alone after school.  
The majority of kidsLINK programs operate on school grounds as a result of our long-term partnerships with school districts.  Children experience an easy transition from the school day and families appreciate the convenience.  Greater Gallatin United Way is pleased to offer the program without cap limits; allowing us to meet the needs of our growing communities.  We are proud to continue our partnerships with school districts to offer affordable, quality, fun out-of-school time programs to support working families the following locations:
kidsLINK Communities   
Amsterdam * Belgrade * Big Sky * Big Timber * Bozeman * Gallatin Gateway * Gardiner * Livingston
Manhattan * Pray  * Shields Valley * Three Forks * West Yellowstone * White Sulphur Springs
Bozeman Locations   
Chief Joseph Middle School * Emily Dickinson * Hawthorne * Hyalite * Irving * Longfellow *  Meadowlark * Morning Star * Whittier  
Belgrade Locations   
Belgrade Middle School * Heck/Quaw * Ridge View * Saddle Peak
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

kidsLINK Afterschool...

  • supports working families and ensures no child has to be home alone after school  
  • promotes academic success by providing tutoring, homework and reading support
  • enhances health by providing daily snacks and nutrition education
  • strengths well-being by providing daily physical activity with a focus on lifelong fitness
  • develops interests and sparks a passion for learning through a variety of enrichment activities
  • fosters mental and emotional well-being through quality staffing and ongoing professional development     

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 kidsLINK Afterschool Program at 406.587.2194 or

kidsLINK Afterschool Program needs your support!

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