After more than 22 years working with Bozeman students, the Child Advancement Project is being recognized at the national level.

An outreach of Thrive, a local organization that promotes child development, the CAP program is just the third mentoring program added to the National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices.

NREPP is an online database that lists organizations that empirically record evidence and scientifically support their results and effectiveness.

With the help of Jayne Downey, education department head at Montana State University, and evaluator Janet Gordon, CAP effectively measured its ability to support students in the Bozeman area.

What they found were “pretty great results, supported by data,” said Deborah Neuman, Thrive’s executive director.

During the 2011-2012 school year, the CAP program matched more than 550 students with volunteers from the community. This collaboration between the schools and the community is what makes the CAP program unique, and what has brought it into the national spotlight.

The results show that the CAP program is very effective, said Neuman, implementing well-designed practices and policies to help students inside, as well as outside, the classroom.

The CAP program teams up students one-on-one with members of the community. These mentors work with the students on more than academics, also focusing on increasing social competency.

Vanessa Skelton, special events manager at Thrive, said for a small program with local roots, Thrive’s staff is excited to receive some national attention. She credits the hard work of the volunteers, as well as the educators of the Bozeman School District.

Being added to a site such as this adds legitimacy to the program, Neuman said.

“People want to know that their money is being well-used when donating,” she said, “and being a part of the registry shows that.”

Tristan Abbott can be reached at or 582-2651.