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AWARE Ink Newsletter

Early Beginnings for AWARE EHS Butte Neighborhood

AWARE began taking steps to establish an Early Head Start program around the late 90s and early 2000s on Mercury Street in Butte, Montana. Over time, and through incremental growth, AWARE’s Early Head Start Center paved the way to roughly $30 million worth of redevelopment in the area from Park Street down to Mercury, and from Arizona over to continental drive. 

Originally, the Early Head Start facility was an old mine site from the 1800s through the 1950s. The area was slated to become part of the west end of the Berkeley Pit. There weren’t many homes or structures in the area even into the 80s and 90s. Some people used to always call it a monument to greed. 

In 1999, Inland Properties, a Dennis Washington subsidiary, donated the property to the Montana Energy Research and Development Institute so that it could be put into the best and highest, most beneficial use. The Early Head Start Center was the perfect choice, and it would be the first site in east Butte to be redeveloped in 35 to 40 years. 

“It’s kind of exciting to take an old mine site and create such vibrant activity while fulfilling a need at the same time. And to go from generating $35,000 a year to $1.7 million dollars, AWARE should be very proud in being a leader and a pioneer in making this happen for Butte and there will be more good things to come.” – Jim Kambich, Former President of MERDI 

This video is the first in a series of videos highlighting the history and impact of Early Head Start in Butte. As part of our 25th Anniversary celebration, we’ve challenged ourselves to raise $25,000 in support of a full kitchen remodel at the Center. If you’re interested in making a donation in support of Early Head Start, please contact Bryon Higgins at or 406.563.8117.

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