In Montana, over 22% of children struggle with hunger – that’s more than 1 in 5, or approximately 48,000 kids.
Moreover, about three-quarters of teachers nationwide say that they have students who come to school hungry, and we can’t expect our students to grow and learn when they’re worried about where their next meal will come from. Research shows the severe impact of child hunger on children’s success in the classroom, overall health and well-being, stability of families, and future self-sufficiency.
No child should be hungry, but the good news is that childhood hunger is a problem that we can solve.
The mission of MT No Kid Hungry is to end childhood hunger by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. Our program has a 3-pronged approach to revitalizing school food services for students:
- Increase food access and food security.
- Enhance meal quality to encourage kids to develop healthy habits for a lifetime.
- Raise awareness by empowering youth to advocate for the prosperity of their communities.
To accomplish these goals, we partner with the Prevention Resource Center AmeriCorps VISTA Project to recruit unique, community-minded individuals that provide programming and guidance to schools to increase access to food services for our most vulnerable students. Examples of projects that PRC VISTAs serving with Montana No Kid Hungry have spearheaded in the past include:
- Development of alternative breakfast models to fit schools’ needs and increase meal participation, including FRP.
- Assessment of After School Meal Programs to streamline logistics, find fiscal advantages, and ensure sustainability.
- Building Summer Meal Sites by bringing together community partners and volunteers, creating activity programming to increase participation, and developing innovative approaches (like mobile food trucks!) to reach kids where they are.
- Launching School Wellness strategies to create a community-driven commitment towards the lasting health of students.
- Expanding partnerships to increase fresh, local, and culturally significant foods in school meals (potentially partnering with Farm to School and Montana Harvest of the Month).
- Seeking out champions to spearhead the work of The Family Dinner Project to bring this positive, family-centered program to the community.
- Facilitate the formation of Student Nutrition Advisory Councils (SNACs) to involve youth in taking charge of their futures.
JOIN US IN BIG SKY COUNTRY!
BE PART OF SOMETHING GREAT:
- Montana’s new school breakfast initiative is on the cutting edge of public health and childhood hunger policies/practices. As a part of it, you will be working with the governor and first lady of Montana on one of their signature issues, and will be a part of a high-profile national campaign headed by Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry.
- Your work will have a direct and measurable impact on the breakfast program participation, overall food security, well-being/health of thousands of students.
- Your work will also provide important case studies that will help to set current and future “best practices” and provide guidelines for successful implementation of similar programs nationwide.
- You will gain invaluable and extremely transferable skills and experience working with anti-poverty experts, educators, students, food service providers, advocacy groups, and community coalitions.
- For highly qualified and self-motivated candidates, there is the potential to pursue advanced independent projects and to adapt your work plan to better suit individual interests and goals for personal/professional development. All proposed projects must be approved by the VISTA program.
HAVE AN UNFORGETTABLE ADVENTURE & FALL IN LOVE WITH MONTANA:
- Friendly communities: It’s so easy to meet people, make friends and find fun things to do in our towns (a lot easier than in a big city!)
- Outdoor recreation: Spend a year surrounded by spectacular scenery, untouched natural ecosystems, and abundant wildlife, with easy access to world class skiing, hiking, mountain biking, rafting/kayaking, and fishing.
- Rich western heritage: Soak up the history of Montana’s many American Indian tribes, explorers like Lewis & Clark, cowboys & cattle ranchers, prospectors and mining barons, etc.
HOW TO APPLY
We are looking for applicants who…
- Are passionate about building a healthier future for school children and motivated to serve disadvantaged and low-income/high-need communities
- Have experience working in or studying food systems, public health, nutrition, education, community organizing, public service, advocacy or outreach
- Are seeking an opportunity to gain hands-on experience for their career
- Are committed to working hard in order to make a difference
- Are self-motivated, well-organized, and comfortable working independently with minimal supervision
- Possess strong leadership qualities, excellent communication skills, a positive/enthusiastic attitude, and the capacity to build/maintain strong interpersonal relationships across a large network of collaborators and community members
- Will be able to cope with unexpected and adverse situations without loss of composure or good humor, persevere in the face of challenges and difficulties, and work to find creative and innovative solutions
The Prevention Resource Center requires that candidates hold a college degree.
Candidates must have use of a car, and a valid driver’s license for travel to and from schools and event sites.
Candidates with a background in dietetics, nutrition, public health, education, early childhood development, etc. are especially encouraged to apply.
Submitting Your Application:
Applications for the 2018-2019 service term will be accepted HERE starting in Spring 2018. To find open positions, search "Hunger" under "Tell Us Your Interests" and "Montana" under "Choose Where to Serve."
Montana No Kid Hungry will make reasonable accommodations for any of our members’ special needs. For more information about disability inclusion, your rights as a service member, and our responsibilities to you, go to: http://serve.mt.gov/disability-inclusion/
For more AmeriCorps opportunities in Montana, please visit: http://serve.mt.gov/for-americorps-members/
If you have any questions about the program or how to apply, please contact VISTA Project Manager John Schlepp at John.Schlepp@mt.gov, or (406) 444-9654.