LUSK – Danny Thomas once said, “Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.” In a time when people must do more with less resources, Wyoming Women’s Center (WWC) has developed innovative ways to give back to the community in which they belong.
WWC Associate Warden Neicole Molden has been at the facility since November 2017 and brings with her over 23 years of correctional experience. When she arrived at WWC she began questioning what the Center was doing in the community. She soon realized that more could be done in relation to civic involvement. Changes at the facility are directed toward a new vision and positive direction that hopefully will allow the women at WWC to be more successful. Encouraging success includes remembering the community and what Lusk is and as a result many of the women want to give back.
AW Molden began brainstorming innovative ideas that would cover both encouraging inmate accomplishment and facility wide community involvement while balancing staff shortages and budget cuts. A community need was identified, and an Avon Fundraiser was organized. The women at WWC aren’t usually allowed to order a lot of cosmetics, but when it is allowed, the facility wanted it to be for a notable cause. AW Molden knew that the LEMS Band Department was in need of equipment, funding for instrument repair and to help those students who couldn’t afford to purchase instruments. This was the organization chosen to receive the fruits of WWC labors. The local Avon representative, Tinette Hales, was contacted and provided the catalogs. Hales’ son is an Alumni, of the Niobrara County band, and she wanted to support the program to restore and repair the band instruments that students can use. For every dollar ordered, a percentage of funds was donated to the cause. “Music in the schools has always been very dear to me, so when WWC contacted me to order Avon, and asked about fundraising, my first thought was rebuilding the music program. The games aren’t the same without the pep band, and music is extremely important for relaxation and creativity, to help the students get their other studies done well. I love Avon products and being an Independent Avon Representative, so being able to put the two together was a huge blessing”, said Hales.
In addition to the increased sales for Hales home business, $1758.78 was raised for the band program. “It actually came out very successful and it was nice to be able to help local people”, said Molden. She continued, “It is important to keep kids busy and entertained doing things that they like to do. If they do not have the equipment or the ability to do that, kids can struggle”. Many women at the center donated, even though they didn’t purchase anything for themselves in order to support the cause. Ivy Palmer, NCSD#1 Music Educator shared, “Because of community support and fundraising efforts the band has not only repaired and restored their instrument inventory, but they were also able to obtain uniform shirts for students for all performances.”
Not one to sit back and bask in their success the women set their attention to another community project. Quilt making for the Helpmate Crisis Center and Crime Victim Assistance Program. AW Molden discovered that Helpmate was in need of children’s items in case of emergencies, Molden passed that information along to the women and they got busy producing beautiful blankets to provide comfort for children in need. Over 10 quilts with child friendly cartoon motifs were presented to Sabrina Kruse, Helpmate Executive Director. “The children love them, and they feel special when they receive one. We can tell by the details and neatness that the women work very hard on these. We would like to thank them for thinking of us and our clients”, said Kruse.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi. Wyoming Women’s Center’s dedication to community has been well demonstrated.