We hope to reach low income Montanans, to engage them in conversation around challenges they and their communities face. Through this process, we hope to identify individuals with lived experience who are interested in building their leadership and public speaking skills. Our goal is to empower people to share their stories while enabling them to be both self and systems-advocates, to educate others on the realities of hunger and poverty and to improve the system for others that follow. To do this, we are using a three-pronged approach:

  1. Focus Groups: Our focus groups are used to collect preliminary information. We ask our participants about their lives and their experiences with different services and programs in the community. This helps us understand the complexity of these challenges, while working together to identify gaps and build solutions that address the cycle of poverty. 
  2. Public Speaking and Leadership Development Training: Focus Group participants can choose to enroll in our free 10-week training, where they will learn and develop skills in public speaking, leadership, and advocacy.
  3. Engagement: Graduates will then put their skills into action. No Kid Hungry staff will work to connect graduates to different opportunities, while collaborating with graduates to develop new initiatives, depending on what their interests are. Examples might include serving on school committees, leading local poverty simulations, speaking at a panel or film screening, or talking with an elected official about hunger in Montana.

Our participants will be equipped to take on leadership roles in their communities, share their stories, engage with elected officials, and challenge stereotypes and dominant narratives about who experiences poverty and hunger and why.