From Slant Streets to Seeley Lake, Missoula County grant funding meets community needs

For Kezia Halverson, substance abuse prevention is personal. As interim CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Missoula County, Halverson provides programming to local youth to avoid substance abuse — a struggle that has at one time or another affected everyone in her family.

The opposite of addiction, she said, isn’t necessarily abstinence. Rather, it’s connection — with peers, a community and a healthy support system. That’s what the Boys & Girls Club offers, not only to urban youth but also to young people out in the county, where options for activities after school are scarce.

“Taking care of those kids,” she said, “is very vital.”

The Boys & Girls Club still has spots open in its various Missoula County locations, and it will continue to offer substance abuse prevention programming thanks to additional funding  from county government. A total of $1.3 million is allocated to more than two dozen community organizations in the area thanks to Missoula County’s Community Assistance Fund and Substance Abuse Prevention Mill Levy.

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“There’s few programs in the rural communities,” said Sarah Bell, county grants administrator. “The Boys & Girls Club probably has

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