I feel that it’s so important to do what we can to give back to our community, even in small ways. So, started my very own MAKING A DIFFERENCE program. It begins with a salute to a different local non-profit every month, right here on

Did you know that young people between the ages of 13 and 21 make up 28 percent of the overall homeless population in Billings? That’s an astounding figure and it’s also one from two years ago, so that number may likely be higher now. As we move closer to the holidays it’s important to remember our local youth who need our help to get off the streets.

That’s where the Tumbleweed Runaway Program comes in. Although their primary function is to serve as a drop-in center for homeless youth, they do so much more.

The non-profit, Billings-based foundation was founded in 1976 to provide services to homeless and runaway youth. These services include counseling and shelter, round-the-clock, seven days a week.

Tumbleweed places a heavy emphasis on their clients’ families, believing that even the most conflict-ridden family can grow stronger and more supportive. To that end, and in their hopes that stronger families will end youth homelessness, they provide free family counseling and parenting courses. Tumbleweed is proud of its 95 percent success rate in re-integrating youth with their families.

Tumbleweed’s HopeLink program was created “to not just provide youth with housing, but provide them with programs and the necessary tools and resources to enable them to be a vital part of our community” the group’s Sheri Boelter says.

Then, there’s the Street Outreach Program where Tumbleweed’s outreach specialists hit the streets with clothing, food, hygiene products and offers of on-the-spot assistance.

If you’d like to help Tumbleweed in its quest to end homelessness among Billings’ youth population you can do so by donating money, goods or time. Donate money online at Tumbleweeds website. If you prefer to donate goods, you will find a list of needed items here.

The gift of your time is also appreciated. Volunteer to help sort and organize the items in the food pantry, hygiene room and clothing closet; offer to help haul trash and furniture or to spiff up the grounds at the office and at the group’s emergency shelters. No background check is required for these volunteer positions.

If you want to work directly with Tumbleweed’s clients you must be at least 18 years old and pass a criminal background investigation. You’ll also need three character references. Find the volunteer application form here.

Realty Billings Socktober