"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change
the world, indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
2013 Annual Report
What would you do if you lost
your job and couldn’t pay your rent or make your mortgage payment? That’s the
crisis a surprising number of people in Lander and other parts of the county
Although some areas of the
economy are recovering, unemployment and under-employment are still endangering
local families. It’s not unusual to find men, women and children living in
their cars. Thanks to you and the help you’ve given us, the First Stop Help
Center has been able to help some of these families facing eviction. The Center
has also aided elderly and disabled people facing a winter without heat because
their gas or electricity has been disconnected.
Although the First Stop Help
Center provides emergency assistance to people in crisis, we have come to
realize that an even more important role is empowering them to help themselves.
Whether our clients need help with money management or job hunting, the Center
provides know-how and encouragement through its life skills classes, enabling
them to maintain dignity and self-respect. Increasingly, education has become
an integral part of our program, just as important as financial assistance.
We’re had a very busy year
and we’d like to share a few of the year’s achievements:
Center directly served 547 families
including 274 children.
Center taught clients essential life skills including budgeting, nutrition, job
hunting and other skills through weekly classes. Classes were required for all
clients seeking financial assistance but they were also available to anyone
else in the community wishing to participate
- The Center gave out emergency financial
assistance to clients with critical needs such as a one-time rent payment to
avoid eviction, a utility payment to keep heat on during the winter, or a bus
pass to get to a job interview.
staff and volunteers advocated for clients by finding housing, helping visually
impaired clients organize their financial records, helping clients with online
applications, making referrals to other agencies that provide useful services, negotiating
with utility companies to extend cutoff grace periods, mediating with
landlords, and generally making clients aware of opportunities available to
Center collaborated with other agencies like Trio and Vocational Rehab to make
clients aware of educational and vocational opportunities.
- The Center
provided assistance to mentally ill clients who were homeless or in danger of
becoming homeless. The PATH program was not a handout but instead held clients
accountable for stabilizing their own lifestyles. We provided in-home case
management for up to 6 months to make sure clients did not become homeless
Center helped bring together the social service agencies in Fremont County to
better serve county residents and provide an effective safety net for those in
Center provided services to homeless men living in city parks and helped them
transition into substance abuse programs, occupational training, and temporary
Center made an emergency supply closet available to clients and provided
diapers and needed personal and household items in emergency situations.
Center was strengthened by over 1000 hours of volunteer time donated by board,
volunteers and staff.
Although 2013 was a very
productive year for us, it was also a sad one. We lost our much loved Chelsea
Kesselheim, who was one of the founders of the First Stop Help Center. Chelsea
was a member of the Board of Directors for many years and her generous spirit was
a source of inspiration to all of us.
In another transition, Dana
Flint, our director for three years, has accepted a new position with
Volunteers of America in Riverton. We are thankful that despite her move to a
new job, Dana continues to work closely with us, both in her capacity in her
new job and in her “spare time.”
The First Stop Help Center
would not exist if it were not for the generosity of this community of people
who truly care about their neighbors. Thanks to you, the Center continues to grow
and serve change the lives of people in need.