"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 are facing.

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:

  • The Center directly served  547 families including 274 children.
  • The 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.
  • Center 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 them.
  • The 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 again.  
  •  The 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 crisis.
  •  The Center provided services to homeless men living in city parks and helped them transition into substance abuse programs, occupational training, and temporary housing. 
  •  The Center made an emergency supply closet available to clients and provided diapers and needed personal and household items in emergency situations.
  •  The 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.



First Stop Help Center Mission


The FSHC is dedicated to empowering people in Fremont County seeking resource assistance with the knowledge, skills and guidance they require to access and utilize needed services in the community. The FSHC provides information and support that allows all people to maintain dignity and respect, and long-term personal and financial sustainability.
 

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Donations to the First Stop Help Center, a 501c3 non-profit organization, are deductible to the full extent of the law.




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The Lander Community Foundation is a generous supporter of the First Stop Help Center.
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