United Way Celebrates Workplace Campaigns

United Way Celebrates Workplace Campaigns

SWEETWATER COUNTY — United Way of Southwest Wyoming (UWSW) hosted their 38th Annual Celebration Event at the Holiday Inn of Rock Springs on May 5th 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 over $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,” said Frink.

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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. “To all the committee members, we are told the number one reason that someone does not give is because they’re not asked. So you’re out there doing the hard work of making the ask. But you know it goes beyond that and you have statistics and stories that you remember to make your case. Because of you, tens of thousands of people in our communities are having their needs met. A small child will be able to attend preschool, helping them be ready for kindergarten. A senior citizen will receive a special meal that is specific to their diet needs. A father will be able to provide shelter and food for his family. It is really no easy task to make the ask.”

Tata: The employees of Tata Chemicals and United Steelworkers Local 15320 were awarded the traveling United Way Spirit award for the employees contributions to the 2016 United Way workplace giving campaign. Pictured, United Way Board Directors Scott Heiner and Teresa Thybo present the award to Jared Bundy, Tyler Keck, Kevin Maloney, Becky Dietrich and Omni Rajaravivarma.



Michael Williams, Executive Director of Uinta B.O.C.E.S was the first guest speaker, highlighting their B.O.O.S.T. program. Program attendees obtain a High School Equivalency as well as employment training that includes portfolio development, finance and work habits, interviewing skills and resume and application skills. Life skills training to include issues of substance abuse, communication skills, risk taking, behavior, conflict resolution, decision making, stress reduction and anger management. After this 12 week course they will also be registered for further education or have a job. B.O.O.S.T has a 90 percent graduation rate.

Williams shared stories of past graduates and introduced graduate Hailey Roberts. Roberts thanked the B.O.O.S.T. program and United Way. She began the program after dropping out of high school as a freshman to try online public school. This worked for a while but Roberts found herself depressed and not putting in the effort needed.

Robert’s sister had graduated from B.O.O.S.T. So she decided to give it a try.

“It’s been one of my best decisions I’ve ever made. I was intimidated to start but eager to learn and it helped me pull out of my shell and the depression I’d been in for months,” state Roberts.

While in the program, Roberts participated in mock interviews. Because of  this she was hired as an intern. After the internship ended she was offered a full time job. Roberts has now decided to further her education and has been applying to colleges.

Family Independence Program

Kathy Garrison, Executive Director of Sweetwater Family Resource Center thanked attendees for their support of United Way, stating that, “this very evening people have a roof over their heads because of the people that donate to United Way.”

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.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Tarynn Martin, case manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) stated 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 stated that 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 ended by saying that he has also learned a lot from his Little and thinks they will always be friends.


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 over $60,000 is invested into Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Southwest Wyoming.


Some of the attendees were hypnotized by Daniel James, a comedy hypnotist. Being hypnotized can make a person better able to respond to suggestions.  Participants had the crowd roaring with their dance moves and actions as James suggested that they were on a beach, had a pet, or were wearing their clothes inside out. Some even shouted out phrases when they heard a key word. All were eventually released from their trance and safely returned to their normal state.