We provide mentoring programs that make a life-changing difference for our area youth.


Our Vision

 To provide a safe, constructive and wholesome environment for our youth, which includes activities, programs, and mentoring services to develop life skills, work skills, and interpersonal relationship skills.


Our Approach


Food & Fun

When working with youth, there of course must be a food and fun component!  Snacks are provided at all events. Fun comes in many forms, but none of them are ‘screen time’.  Our fun involves games such as Ultimate Frisbee, Super Simon Says, Dodge Ball, Basketball, board games and puzzles.  With these activities, we work on team building, listening, communication and interpersonal skills.


Work Skills

The Work Skills program targets specific skills, attitudes and ethics youth will need to be successful in the work force. Youth receive hands-on training with activities such as our Entrepreneurial Garden Program and Work Team Program. YES youth raised over $10,000 in our first year from fundraising activities such as: face painting booths, a Fall Carnival, garage sales, car washes, assisting the elderly on walks, and Pizza Ranch Work Experience Nights.


Life Skills

The Life Skills program teaches critical skills in areas such as cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene, and money management.  Our local schools no longer offer Home Economics classes and math classes can only offer quick overviews of various life skills which are often not enough for youth to internalize the concepts and generalize them to their personal lives. YES seeks to fill this void by providing instruction and practice on skills in these areas.


The Arts

The Arts program encompasses drama, music and art of all kinds. Our music program includes Battle of the Rockbands (Guitar Hero type) events, entries into local talent shows, karaoke, and videos. Our drama program will include plays, dramatic videos and other forms of drama. YES youth are also receiving weekly art classes  through the Copper Village Museum and Arts Program.

Making a Difference

We are committed to transforming the lives of our youth by providing activities with an emphasis on social, academic and career needs and the development of healthy leisure time recreational activities.

Through the services and programs we offer, youth attain a sense of individual responsibility and a commitment to developing skills needed to be successful members of the work force upon adulthood.

Our youth also develop a sense of pride and accomplishment in doing their best in any endeavor, valuable interpersonal skills needed in all areas of life, time management, personal accountability and responsibility, working as a team, communication and listening, and money management skills.


Projects in the Works


Youth Work Team Program

Our Work Team Program is designed to develop and enhance work skills while assisting with fundraising for center expenses. The program will involve activities such as shoveling snow, mowing lawns, washing windows, and assisting the elderly.

Outdoor Garden Area

Recently we purchased an historic church building for our center, which has a small outdoor garden area. With the assistance from the former gardener for the building, we will be learning gardening skills such as caring for rose bushes. We will also be maintaining and enhancing the entire garden area.


Our Team


Karen McCarthy

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Karen was a special education teacher from 1979-2016. She took a few years off during that time to work as an office manager for an accountant, a worker in a preschool and a manager of a woman's fitness facility. She was a foster parent for 7 years, has published a book and has worked in various youth ministries in her church.


Israel Alcantar

Staff Member                            

Israel is also an artist and is helping with art classes until the Art Center is able to find a new instructor. He is skilled at leading groups with youth where they can talk about their feelings, issues bothering them and so on and to gently lead them to possible solutions or ways to help the situations.


Valerie Saltenberger

Staff Member                            

Valerie worked in the public schools for students with emotional difficulties.  She also worked in an after-school program for elementary age children, planning and implementing activities both during the school year and during summer breaks.


Patti Lowden-Brien


Patti has a true heart for youth and for our program. She helps plan and implement craft projects and specializes in making hand made cards. She will often take time off of work in order to assist with our fundraising efforts. Patti connected with us after she moved here from Kentucky and found a new home with YES.


Brandon Baragar


Brandon enjoys working with children and youth and often runs our game nights with creative team games he has either created himself or run in the past. One of his favorite activities is tie-dying and he looks forward to summer when we have our annual tie dye event.



Janie Dierenfeldt


Janie is a volunteer who teaches sewing/quilting classes once a week.  She does the same for Community Youth Center, which works with younger children. She starts with basic sewing skills and then adds more complicated projects. Often projects are entered in the Tri-County Fair with great results.


Tim Ramsey


Tim is a Haul truck driver for Intermountain Construction Services and previously held the same position at Helena Sand and Gravel. Tim is a gentle giant and a perfect male role model for these youth. He has experience as a youth leader and Sunday School teacher in the past. 


Board of Directors


Art Villasenor


Art has extensive background in coaching after school sports programs such as baseball, football, basketball, and track. He is proficient at computer and financial skills as well as record keeping and reporting.

Jackie Evans

Vice President

Jackie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary & Special Education and a Master’s of Education in Guidance and Counseling. She is a trained MANDT Instructor (preventing and deescalating behaviors that pose a threat of harm).

Craig Hertoghe


Craig loves golfing, hiking, outdoor activities, and plants. He has a bachelor's degree in Biological Science. Craig is retired, but worked for Billings Clinic. He now enjoys retirement with his significant other and two dogs.  


Shelli Merino


Shelli has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and has had over 20 years’ experience working with non-profits in various roles; such as, volunteering, marketing, administration, and consulting. She and her husband own local and national businesses.

Kauz McCarthy

Executive Member

Kauz is proud to have served in the Navy and has two sons now serving in the Marines. He is a Welding Instructor at Montana Precision Products. Kauz's heart for children and engaging personality make him a natural fit to enhance the lives of area youth.

Jim Morley

Board Member

Jim was born and raised in Montana and attended the University of Montana. He is the manager of Anaconda Ace Hardware, the Vice President for the Community Hospital Foundation and Kiwanis, and has served as the Anaconda Chamber President.


Our Sponsors

In addition to generous local businesses, citizens and loyal followers, the following corporate sponsors and grantors deserve a special thank you: