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Longtime Missoula Youth Homes director retiring

MISSOULA - Geoff Birnbaum has been at the helm of Youth Homes in Missoula for 42 years, helping to grow it from just one home to 11 across Western Montana. Jill Valley sat down with Birnbaum as he prepares to retire to talk about what’s next for him and ...

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MISSOULA - Geoff  Birnbaum has been at the helm of Youth Homes in Missoula for 42 years, helping to grow it from just one home to 11 across Western Montana.Jill Valley sat down with Birnbaum as he prepares to retire to talk about what’s next for him and for Missoula’s kids. “I remind myself all that time that I was hired on a tie vote, it’s wasn’t unanimous," Birnbaum laughed.But four decades later, it is safe to say Geoff Birnbaum was the right person for the job.  He never thought he’d be running Youth Homes this long.“I didn’t come here and think I could grow this into an organizationI just thought it would be fun and interestingI didn’t know what I would do next," Birnbaum recalled"And it just kept being an opportunity, a challenge”He does what inspires him and often lets that inspiration be his guide. Youth Homes has evolved over the years, working hard to keep kids out of their homes with more in-home services for area families.But Birnbaum knows these are challenging times. “What’s challenging is times are changingThe pressure on families is greater, the economy is tough, wages aren’t keeping up with housing costs and I think kids pay the price," Birnbaum said"The more parents have to work the less time they have to be parents."“Kids are less optimistic than they’ve ever been the stats are not good for adolescents," Birnbaum added"What’s going on between adults isn’t helping kids feel good."He feels good about the way he and his staff have approached care for kids as it’s evolved over time."While we have policy, we're really guided by a culture about how we work together and how we see kids and how we treat kids and what we mean when we think about relationships and what we think is the most important -- that's probably what I'm most proud of," Birnbaum said.Birnbaum's also the name to know in youth soccerHe's currently the coach of the 18U Missoula Strikers and says he's not ready to pull up cleats from that just yet.But as expected when closing the door on a lifelong career,  he’s reflecting on the job he did," what I’m doing now is assessing my own life and asking was I good? Did I live up? What will they say about me after I'm gone?" Birnbaum asked."I’m not worried about January 1stThis is a time to look back, ask myself, 'did I meet the standard I set when I was 13'?" Birnbaum concluded.Beth Cogswell will take at Youth Homes on Jan1. if (Worldnow.EventMan) Worldnow.EventMan.event('WNCol23done'); Worldnow.Helpers.debug('UB col4a-weather-block(382229)', 'UB_382229'); (function() { var useSSL = 'https:' == document.location.protocol; var src = (useSSL ? 'https:' : 'http:') + '//'; document.write(''); })(); if (wng_pageInfo.affiliateName=="KTVQ") { var imglink="/category/293741/stormtracker-doppler"; var imgurl=""; var imagename="Stormtracker Doppler"; } else if (wng_pageInfo.affiliateName=="KPAX") { var imglink="/category/294323/stormtracker-doppler-radar"; var imgurl=""; var imagename="STORMTracker Doppler"; } else if (wng_pageInfo.affiliateName=="KAJ") { var imglink="/category/294349/stormtracker-doppler-radar"; var imgurl=""; var imagename="STORMTracker Doppler"; } else if (wng_pageInfo.affiliateName=="KBZK") { var imglink="/category/294284/doppler-radar"; var imgurl=""; var imagename="Doppler Radar"; } else if (wng_pageInfo.affiliateName=="KXLF") { var imglink="/category/294375/doppler-radar"; var imgurl=""; var imagename="Doppler Radar"; } else if (wng_pageInfo.affiliateName=="KRTV") { var imglink="/category/294224/interactive-radar"; var imgurl=""; var imagename="STORMTracker Doppler"; } else if (wng_pageInfo.affiliateName=="KXLH") { var imglink="/category/294277/interactive-radar"; var imgurl=""; var imagename="STORMTracker Doppler"; } console.log(imgurl);

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