From babies to senior citizens, the Human Resource Development Council in Gallatin County helps 11,000 customers each year, not counting the Streamline bus service, which gave over 300,000 rides last year. Now, the HRDC has a new program, specifically to help homeless youth in the area.

“The homeless youth population in Bozeman is a very invisible population. They are not the people you see flying signs…They’re couch surfing and sleeping in cars,” said Robin Mayer, the HRDC’s special events and outreach coordinator.

The youth home and youth empowerment program helps the area’s homeless youth transition to homelessness to independence.

“We say we meet these youth where they are in their lives and help them find solutions,” Mayer said.

There’s room at the home for six people ages 17-21 to stay. There they receive stability and mentorship, but that’s not all.

“Just because they get placed in the house, their services don’t end there,” Mayer said. “The HRDC is not a Band-Aid organization. With these homeless youth, we’re providing them with transportation via Streamline, food at the Community Café with emergency food boxes from the food bank. We are a full service nonprofit organization.”

Job placement is a big part of helping them transition and become involved members of the community, Mayer explained. So far, the program has placed participants in jobs at bookstores, auto and gardening shops and in a library.

The community will have the opportunity to hear from one of the participants who is now living independently and has a job at the upcoming HRDC Carnival Fundraiser.

Tickets are available now for the fundraiser, which is the HRDC’s largest of the year. It’ll be held Thursday, July 28 at the Story Mansion.

Unlike Huffing for Stuffing or Can the Griz, which helps only the HRDC’s Gallatin Valley Food Bank, the Carnival helps all of the programs – Head Start, senior programs, Streamline and more.

There will be fun for adults and children, including fire dancers and break dancers, a dunk tank, inflatables, midway booths, a photo booth, a caricaturist, food trucks, a DJ, a kissing booth where Hershey’s Kisses will be handed out and more. The price of the ticket is all inclusive except for adult beverages.

A live auction will also be held with seven auction items, including a seven-day stay-cation at a vacation rental on the Madison River.

“It’s great for the whole family,” Mayer said.

This is the third year for the Carnival, and Mayer is hoping it raises $20,000 for the HRDC. The money raised at the event will help the HRDC to fund initiatives like its new homeless youth home and empowerment program.

“We feel as lucky to have these customers as they,” Mayer said. “They’re an inspiration to us every day.”

The Carnival runs from 5 – 9 p.m. and the all-inclusive tickets are $75 for families, $40 for couples and $25 for singles and can be purchased on line at www.thehrdc.org, in person at 32 South Tracy or by calling 406-585-4853.