Featured: Billings Family YMCA Receives $90,000 For New Teen Center

Featured Article

Billings Family YMCA

May 7, 2024

The Billings Family YMCA announced Thursday, May 2nd, that they have received $90,000 in grant funding for a new teen center from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Des Moines Member Impact Fund, First Interstate Bank, and Valley Credit Union. In addition, another $40,000 was received from the Charles M. Bair Family Trust.

Plans are in the works to remodel two of the older racquet ball courts into a new Y Teen center that will include an Electronic Sports (Esports) arena and sports court. Esports are being played in high schools and colleges across
Montana with High School Championships being played at the University of Montana Gaming facility. The program incorporates video games for organized competitions for either multiplayer, teams, or individuals. It is an all-inclusive program and opens the door to building a community among teens including those that may not participate in organized school sports, music, or other school activities.

The benefits of creating an Esports program at the Y includes providing a safe place for teens to be a part of something regardless of their background, helping to increase their self-esteem, and minimize social isolation. Also, teens cultivate relationship building which leads to social and emotional learning skills. Esports participants also learn Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), by analyzing data and statistics, review strategies, while learning how to build computers and manipulate software. “We are thankful for the grant funding from FHLB of Des Moines, First Interstate Bank, Valley Credit Union, and Charles M. Bair Family Trust that allows us to create a safe space that offers alternative activities for teens during out-of-school time where they gain experience, grow, and thrive.” said Kim Kaiser, Y CEO.

By converting one of the racquet ball courts into a new sports court, teens will have a space to shoot hoops, play 3 on 3 games, or play street ball. “We continue to improve on existing programs and create new innovative programs to best serve our members and the community,” shared Y CEO, Kim Kaiser.

Introduced in 2023, the Member Impact Fund matching grant program provided nearly $20 million to eligible organization in order to strengthen communities in targeted areas for the FHLB Des Moines district. In 2024 FHLB Des Moines increased the Member Impact Fund by $10 million to help advance the positive work being done in these communities. The Charles M. Bair Family Trust dedication to philanthropy has impacted the lives of many and helped to build stronger communities in Montana. Through their support, the Billings Family YMCA has increased safety measures within and around the facility, built an inclusive ADA playground, provided safe transportation for Y children in Afterschool and Summer Camp, and helped to ensure that our low-income neighbors received financial assistance to belong to the Y. With their recent grant funding, the Y will continue to provide programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women, and children – regardless of age, income, or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.