MME relocates, rebrands as Mission Mountain Empowerment
POLSON — Mission Mountain Empowerment (MME), formerly Mission Mountain Enterprises, gathered staff, clients, and community to celebrate their organizational rebrand last Thursday in their new administration building on South Hills Drive.
After purchasing the new building around a year ago, Executive Director Lauren Oliver explained that the staff and board decided it was a good time for a refresh for the organization. “MME’s been here for a really long time,” Oliver said. “I came in three years ago and we’ve really just kind of changed a lot of how we do things and what kind of services we provide. We changed a lot in our leadership team and there’s been a lot of restructuring, so I think it was just kind of a nice rebirth to try to get MME out there a bit more.”
MME is a nonprofit started in 1975 that provides living arrangements for individuals with disabilities in an array of community settings. Currently they serve 44 clients from ages 20 to 79. Some clients live in one of four group homes – two in Ronan and two in Polson and some live independently or with family. MME also operates an active day program held on 7th Ave. in Polson.
The first change to come in the rebrand was the name – Oliver explained that she didn’t feel “Enterprises” made much sense for a nonprofit, so Board President Chuck Wall suggested the word “Empowerment,” and the idea grew from there. Oliver said of the rename, “We provide a lot of opportunity, so that’s where our new slogan came from.” She further explained, “Every day is a new opportunity, because (clients) have a lot more opportunities in life since we’ve kind of restructured and done some really neat things … Just a little rebirth to kind of get us all excited again.”
With a large variety of people within the organization, Oliver said they settled on their new brand by voting on logos and slogans and involving everyone to make sure they had their input heard and felt invested in their organization. They also restructured positions, making sure their people were better utilized so everything would flow smoother not only from within the organization, but when dealing outside as well.
Oliver said with the changes have come more opportunities to empower clients with new experiences as well. New activities include, equine therapy and hiking trips, a partnership with another nonprofit called HydroLogistics to offer adaptive river trips, and even ski and snowboard lessons in the winter. Clients are empowered to learn more and feel more integrated in the community and the world.
“Our clients are awesome,” Oliver stated. “Sometimes people forget that our clients are taxpayers, and they’re voters, and they have jobs in our community and spend money in our community … so we want to encourage this kind of communal thing where everybody’s okay with the fact that someone with Down Syndrome is like having a beer at the brewery, and just destigmatizing a lot of that. And a lot of people have really gotten onboard in our community, it’s been awesome.”
Those interested in learning more about MME or ways to get involved can do so by calling 406-676-2563 or going online to mme-mt.org. Those interested in contributing can do so not only monetarily, but by offering their time and expertise for classes and other opportunities as well.
“I’m really excited. I’m kind of hoping this might be the catalyst to get some more community involvement,” Oliver commented. “It’s not just sitting in a house and watching someone with a disability watch TV … Today we make them integrated, and less restricted, and part of our society and our community, and I’m really excited to see how many people embrace that. It’s been really a pleasure to be a part of.”