Monday, October 16, 2017


Estevon Torres is a CAT!
For the past four years an emerging nonprofit called Sparrows Nest of Northwest Montana has been making headway on addressing teen homelessness in the Flathead. Sparrows Nest does some incredibly necessary work there helping homeless teens with safe housing so they can continue and complete their studies, work, and live. We've helped provide four AmeriCorps VISTAs over the past four years, and they are on the home stretch with the support we can provide. Over the years, we've seen them go from a good idea hatched by caring community members to an organization with a board, staff and volunteer pool. I remember the first call I got from Marcie Bumke, who was a volunteer and board member for Sparrows Nest. She'd been in touch with Wendy Jeschke from Flathead Valley Community College, and Wendy had told her what they were doing was well-suited for a VISTA.

Marcie was so excited to get things going, and had missed our deadline for project submissions. I knew that they had immediate needs, a work station in a partner church's rectory, and they were ready to go. So we bent the rules a bit, and got to work setting them up, got the project approved, got a work plan set up and the next thing I knew Cat, Sparrows Nest first VISTA, was in Montana, rolling up her sleeves and getting things done. It seemed to happen in just a couple of weeks.

MTCC VISTAs Cat Lehnis, Claire Anderson, Molly Neu and now, Jamie Pollard have served with Sparrows Nest, and have helped build new capacity and deeper partnerships in the Flathead, so homeless teens have better access to services, and support.

We just read this great article in Kalispell's Daily Interlake about Estevon Torres. Estevon recently started college at Montana State University this fall. Estevon was the first resident of Sparrows Nest Whitefish shelter! Great work Estevon. Keep it up.