SWEETWATER COUNTY – United Way of Southwest Wyoming’s Helping Hands Day generated over $16,682 worth of services for the elderly, persons with disabilities and non-profit organizations. More than 140 local volunteers logged 711 hours completing facility and home repairs, renovations and yardwork.
United Way created Helping Hands Day to demonstrate what a difference can be made when the community works together for the common good. This event is held annually on the fourth Saturday in August. However, volunteers are encouraged to schedule projects at their convenience. This year, projects were completed August through October.
Playground enhancements were completed at the Sweetwater County Child Development Center in both the Rock Springs and Green River locations by Tata Chemicals employees and United Steelworkers Local 15320.
Sweetwater County Child Development Center Director, Lu Kasper praised the Helping Hands Day event stating, “the Tata employees went over and above anything we’d expected when they purchased materials for and built a pergola for shade on our playground! In addition to our pergola, they also fixed a broken gate, purchasing new hinges. We are so very thankful for the Tata employees and for United Way, who allowed this to be possible!”
The Child Development Center has been writing grants for the past three years trying to get any kind of shade for the playground. One of their teachers, Nancy Anderson, asked if it could possibly be a Helping Hands Day project. Kasper said, “Knowing this was a big job, none of us thought it would happen, so when Tata showed up with a plan and wanting measurements the staff was thrilled!”
Volunteers from Questar, Solvay, Jim Bridger Power Plant, Utility Workers Local 127, Mandros, Ciner and Rock Springs High School Health Academy completed projects for the YWCA’s Early Learning Center, Family Justice Center and Support and Safe House.
“Jim Bridger Power Plant and Utility Workers 127 have kind of adopted the Safe House,” said Kelly Frink, Executive Director for United Way of Southwest Wyoming. “They come back year after year and do amazing things. From tree trimming to painting and cleaning out the garage, they will do it all. This year it was fun to see all the different companies completing different stages of a project. The Safe House was in need of dog kennels a dog run and pet cover and heater. Solvay was able to purchase a shed. Then Jim Bridger Power plant volunteers constructed the shed and Questar painted it. This is what Helping Hands Day and United Way is all about, working together to make great things happen.”
For the third year in a row Mandros hosted an ice cream social for the residents of Mansface Terrace. “The ice cream social is a great and excellent opportunity for us to serve, show love and add sweetness to the lives of our seniors. The knowledge shared and practical advice given by our seniors during this event is priceless,” said Candace Lambert a Mandros employee and volunteer.
Green River Future Farmers of America, Youth Home, Inc., Vaughn’s Plumbing and Heating, Sweetwater County School District #2 and community individuals all chose projects for senior citizens in Rock Springs and Green River.
Members of the Green River Future Farmers of America painted an elderly woman’s trailer house and shed as she is on a limited income and unable to do the work herself.
“Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve is the motto for the National FFA Organization. Through the Helping Hands Day service project, members of the Green River FFA were able to experience hands on what it takes to paint a house for someone in need, putting doing to learn and living to serve in action! The members we had participate loved the experience and took great pride in doing such a big project for a member of the community. The project had numerous teachable moments that allowed the students to get a little dirty and put some real life skills to work!” said Elizabeth Withers, who is the Agriculture Education Instructor and FFA Advisor at Green River High School.
Local businesses sponsor the event to help with project supplies and giving each volunteer a “thank-you” T-shirt.
Sponsors for this event included Solvay, Tata Chemicals, John Bunning Transfer Co. Inc., Mandros, Rocky Mountain Power, Jim Bridger Power Plant, ExxonMobil Production, Ciner and Par 5 Promotions.