LUSK – Being behind bars doesn’t prevent one from helping the community. This statement was evidenced by a recent donation made from the women at the Wyoming Women’s Center (WWC) in Lusk to the Lusk Early Childhood Center (LECC) on 801 Maple Street, also in Lusk.
According to Amber Syrovatka, a unit manager for WWC, the inmates were permitted to order out of a Walkenhorst’s catalog, which is a commissary catalog authorized by the Wyoming Department of Corrections (WDOC).
“It was an incentive, so however much they spent, they had to also donate some money, so it was broken down into intervals,” Syrovatka said. “As you can see, they spent a lot of money. The total of the check is $1,820.”
As an added bonus, the inmates were offered the chance to choose where the money would be donated.
“They felt the children’s program was somewhere they wanted to donate to this time,” Syrovatka said.
The prison does these fundraisers about every six months or so, according to Syrovatka and Associate Warden Timothy Lang.
“It’s our ladies’ way of giving back to the community,” Lang said.
Syrovatka pointed out WWC had donated to other local organizations in the past and are looking forward to their next fundraiser.
“In the past, they have donated to Helpmate,” Syrovatka said. “I’m not sure what the next one they are going to do is.”
“We sure appreciate it,” Martha “Miss Martha” Bridge, the LECC director said. “It will go towards our birth to three and our three to five-year-old children; buying some things from our wish list.”
Bridge also informed the Herald there was an added bonus to receiving the donation.
“I will send this down, and we will put it in our local match,” Bridge explained. “The government will then do a match. So, it’s a local in-kind match.”
Bridge said the match would be an additional 25 cents on the dollar for each dollar donated.
Bridge expressed her appreciation to the WWC and said she and her students would be putting together a thank-you card for the inmates who donated to the center.
“It’ll be nice for them to see that,” Lang said. “It gives them some hope that they can have a positive impact on their communities.”
About the Wyoming Women’s Center
The Wyoming Women’s Center was first established on June 20, 1977, and was temporarily located on Wyoming State Hospital grounds in Evanston. In 1980, the Wyoming State Legislature formally created the Wyoming Women’s Center, and by 1981 had authorized the establishment of a permanent facility in Lusk. The original housing capacity of the Women’s Center facility was 82 beds, and with recent construction, the housing capacity has increased to 261 in the main facility and an additional 32 beds in the Intensive Treatment Unit.
WWC underwent construction in 2004 through 2007. The expansion nearly doubled the size of the facility from 72,000 square feet to 140,000 square feet. The construction project included an addition of 108 beds and a 32-bed Intensive Treatment Unit. The kitchen and dining areas were expanded. New educational, vocational and industries areas were added. The industries area now includes a new supply and laundry area. The Aquaculture building is where tilapia fish are raised.
About the Lusk Early Childhood Center
From wyomingchild.org: The Wyoming Child and Family Development Lusk Center offers services for children birth to five years old.
We recognize parents as a child’s first and most important teacher. By partnering with parents, we can help prepare children for success in school and in life. Parents are always welcome and encouraged to participate in classroom and other center activities.
Head Start provides a free, early intervention program to low-income, at-risk children, 3 – 5 years of age and their families. Each child receives a developmental, hearing, vision, and health screening. Our program provides activities that address the child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development to help prepare the child for success in school and in life. Class is for 4 hours and includes breakfast and lunch.
The Early Head Start program provides services for pregnant moms and children birth to three years old. It includes weekly home visits and socialization experiences twice a month for 2 ½ hours. Home visits are individualized to help parents support their child’s growth and development. Parents stay with the child during the socialization and home visits.
Pregnant women enrolled in Early Head Start have individualized home visits that promote healthy prenatal outcomes and help them prepare for the arrival of the child. Upon delivery, the child is then enrolled in Early Head Start and services continue.
Free Screen for Success child development screenings are offered monthly at the Wyoming Child and Family Development Lusk Center for all children from birth through five years old.
Infants and preschool children are screened to determine how they are progressing towards their developmental milestones.
Developmental Disabilities services are available for free to all birth to five-year-old children with special needs. Services include speech/language therapy, physical and occupational therapy, special education and mental health services.
Early Intervention and Developmental Preschool - Services include free developmental screenings, early intervention, special education and related services for children birth through age five. Developmental Preschool is offered 2 days per week for children ages 3-5.