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United Way Celebrates Workplace Campaigns


United Way of Southwest Wyoming hosted its 38th Annual Celebration Event at the Holiday Inn of Rock Springs in May to celebrate 2016 workplace campaign donors and volunteers.

The evening began with Kelly Frink, Executive Director thanking the sponsors. Jim Bridger Power Plant and Wyoming Machinery were major sponsors of the event. Other sponsors were Tronox, Solvay, City of Rock Springs and Holiday Inn.

Frink announced that the employees of Tronox and United Steelworkers Local 13214 had the largest employee campaign raising more than $125,000.

“I don’t know how you reach almost 900 employees when you’re all working different shifts in different buildings. It is a lot of extra work and it is appreciated,” Frink said.

Tata Chemicals had the largest corporate donation of $107,673. Frink thanked Tata for matching their employee donations dollar for dollar. Later in the evening, Tata was presented with the traveling Spirit Award. This award is given to a company’s employees with the highest average donation per donor. To be eligible the company must employee 50 or more employees with a minimum campaign participation level of 50 percent. The employees of Tata Chemicals and United Steelworkers Local 15320 had an average gift of $362 per donor with 55 percent participation.

J.R. Simplot Company and its employees were awarded the traveling Excellence Award for the second year in a row. This award is given to the company and employees that have the highest average donation per total employees when combining the employee pledges with the corporate gift. To be eligible the company must employee 50 or more employees with a minimum campaign participation level of 50 percent. J.R. Simplot Company together with its employees had an average donation of $459 per employee with 63 percent participation. They increased their campaign total by 28 percent from the prior year. Workplace committee volunteers were also recognized. 

Family Independence Program

Kathy Garrison, Executive Director of Sweetwater Family Resource Center thanked attendees for their support of United Way.

“This very evening people have a roof over their heads because of the people that donate to United Way,” Garrison said.

Family Independence helps community members with their basic needs, including shelter and utilities as well as other services to prevent job loss and homelessness. To participate in the program, clients must also be actively improving their situation.  Garrison then introduced Chris Henderson, a client.

Henderson shared his personal story of heath complications, including a stroke and Atrial Fibrillation. While in rehabilitation, Henderson lost his job, which led to loss of health insurance and homelessness. Henderson was living in his car when he asked for help.

“Without the help of the Sweetwater Family Resource Center and United Way, I do not think I would be here today,” Henderson said.

 Big Brothers Big Sisters

Tarynn Martin, case manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters said she was honored to introduce one of their Bigs, Joe Senseshale. After joining BBBS about a year and half ago, he was her first match for this youth mentoring program.

Senseshale said he had wanted to help, but with his schedule thought he could only give a couple of hours a month. He also required that his match, a Little, would also enjoy outdoor activities. Senseshale did not want to be matched with someone who only wanted to play video games. It took about a month and then Martin felt she had the perfect match for Senseshale. The match was a success.  The Little was from a single-parent household and had previous been expelled from school. Senseshale has been able to increase the time they spend together. He stated he has noticed changes in his Little. He feels that he is doing better in school, has increased self-esteem, seems more outgoing and is now participating in more school activities.

“I’d like to think that I have played a part in that,” Senseshale said. 

Community Impact

United Way estimates a total dollar impact of $1,605,037.29 to Sweetwater, Uinta, Lincoln and Sublette counties for 2016. Donors pledged $1,193,510.66 to the 2016 workplace campaign, FamilyWize has saved the communities $322,435.67 on prescription drugs, the Community Diaper Bank’s assistance is worth $12,408.96 in diapers, the value of Helping Hands Day volunteers is worth $16,682.00 and more than $60,000 is invested into Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Southwest Wyoming.


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