Welcome to our series, #WHYoming.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
For this week’s #WHYoming, I had a chance to talk with Paige Moore, a child welfare social worker for the Wyoming Department of Family Services. Paige’s goal every day is to be there for children and instill them with the hope to become the best people they can be.
Helping families is what makes all the ups and downs of Paige’s job worth it.
“If I can help just one family and know that I have impacted their worlds in a life changing manner, then I have carried out the ultimate meaning of helping families,” Paige said.
Paige is a Rock Springs native and is now raising her son, Noah, here. She is thankful for the community and the safety it provides her and her family.
Paige, what do you do at the Wyoming Department of Family Services?
A child welfare social worker is to protect children from situations of abuse, neglect and other forms of maltreatment. We focus on ensuring the social, physical, psychological and emotional well-being of families and work different permanency plans in coordination with the County Attorney’s Office as well as one of the Honorable Judges.
Why did you go into this line of work?
I was inspired to get into this line of work because of a very special and dear family member- you know who you are! I was able to become very close to him throughout his upbringing and found myself developing a large feeling of wanting and needing to protect, encourage, and guide him.
Because of circumstances that were completely out of his control and not put on the table for him to have any type of say, his world went from innocent, cheerful, fulfilling, and routine to unstable, broken, confusing, and mentally and emotionally exhausting. I saw him go from one person to another all within the matter of a small window of time. He suddenly found himself with very little direction in life that turned into frustration, and inevitably grew to rebellion, anger, and hidden sadness and hurt.
The drastic down spiral change made me become overwhelmed with the idea that it may only take that one person in a world full of loved ones and adults who are supposed to be there for you, but let you down to truly make a difference. So I did… he did.
He changed my world just as much as I hope I changed his. I was his biggest cheerleader in life, his friend, his confidant, his teacher, his motivator, his voice of reason and he valued all of it so much. It was during this process that I realized how many children are affected for years to come because of a decision that they did not make.
They are the ones with no voices, no say, no opinion, a lack of independence over themselves and are instead made to accept, adapt, and shine throughout any and all circumstances. It’s a lot of pressure on these kids; they are forced to deal with so many things based on their parents’ decisions. Traumas, mental illness, delinquencies’, self doubt, shame, embarrassment, feelings of hopelessness, increased desire to utilize illegal substances, thoughts of suicide, developmental delays, and physical delays.
After seeing this particular family member climb the ladder and make it out of the dark hole that he continued to dig for himself, it was amazing to see who he had become; what he had accomplished and overcome, the wisdom that he accumulated, the resilience he obtained, and a heart of gold. I wanted to continue to be children’s voices when theirs have been removed. I wanted to let their parents know that it was all going to be okay and that they did have someone who believed in them. That would help them achieve the parent that they want to be, but do not have enough love, support, and guidance to achieve it.
I wanted to build people up to believe in them even if no one else does; I wanted to help families, especially children develop and grow into the best possible unit and person that they are capable of. I wanted to give hope. And if all else failed, I would know that I at least was there for him during times that he felt no one else was; sometimes that’s all that matters. That’s all they need.
How long have you been working at the Department of Family Services?
One and a half years.
What does it mean to you to be able to help families?
What it means to me to be able to help families is more than words would be able to successfully describe. Each family is always so different that you never truly know what type of help they are going to need, what they are recovering from, what they want to achieve, and therefore have no idea what type of impact that family is going to have on you.
I love more than anything being able to ask people about their life and all of the events that they remember no matter what emotion it triggers. I love the vulnerability that I am allowed to be a part of and listen to, while also developing a plan on what steps need to be taken in order to promote their ultimate wellbeing and happiness.
I honestly am honored that I am allowed the opportunity to help families and believe that the Department of Family Services is not given nearly enough credit as they deserve. Social workers are the people who perform any and all field work; they develop the relationships with everyone involved, listen to their stories, are the supporters, encourage each person, provide benefits, opportunities, tools, and resources. Loving the kids as
if they are your own, promoting the idea of the family unit even when all hope seems lost; we go through more highs and lows with each family than often times we experience within our own and it is sad, beautiful, inspiring, worrisome, amazing, confusing, frustrating, and encouraging.
If I can help just one family and know that I have impacted their worlds in a life changing manner, then I have carried out the ultimate meaning of helping families and what it is that I set out to accomplish originally.
How did you end up in Rock Springs?
I was born and raised in Rock Springs. There has only been a small amount of time when I did not reside locally which was my first semester at CWCC in Riverton. My dad and his wife, plus their kids, relocated and I followed.
What is something unique about you?
Something unique about me is that prior to becoming a social services worker for the Department of Family Services and being a stay at home mommy to my beautiful baby boy Noah, I owned a clothing store named Belle Couture. Quite the jump in careers, huh?! My first love was and most likely always will be fashion and beauty. One of my favorite things about Belle Couture would be seeing women walk into the store with their heads down, frown on face, little to no confidence, followed by being greeted and treated with respect and encouragement, provided compliments and support as well as suggestions until they have just what they need in order to feel beautiful. And it wouldn’t only be their outer beauty, (which 9 times out of 10 would end up being the most rewarding aspect of the entire thing), it would often times be that they would absolutely glow and come back around just to get that feeling within themselves again.
Building people up in general can mean very many different things, but I love the idea of always doing something with the intent on making people better.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
I won’t lie, growing up I didn’t find too many things that I truly could say that I appreciated about our community. My goal was always to graduate from high school and move somewhere…anywhere! As time went on and I had my son in 2015, everything suddenly clicked for me. The love you feel for your kids is indescribable and I became overwhelmingly consumed
with happiness; that I was going to raise him in a small community with low crime, above average schools, safe neighborhoods, large community support, employment opportunities, and the ability to get from one place to another under ten minutes—no traffic!
What are your some of your hobbies?
Well, when I am not working, spending time with my family, or diving nose first into my most recent role, the preschool teacher, I also enjoy traveling, going to the gym, writing, singing, and I used to play the piano and violin which I would love to get back into.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
Honestly? If I could give one brief piece of advice I would say to live each moment with the highest intent of feeling as if you don’t have tomorrow. Say what you feel when you feel it and don’t hold back. And finally to not ever let someone or something control, manipulate, change, or bully you into believing that you’re someone or something that you’re not. I would want to say that those people are never going to leave your life or the surrounding parts of your life, but never live in fear either. Don’t let it pass you by.
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
This one is tricky, I am so used to being in hibernation for COVID as well as our long winter season that is behind us. I would say that I enjoy going to the Flaming Gorge. My son loves any and all parks so we make those our hang out. That Yogurt Place has become a tradition as well. My side of the family is very into camping and is constantly choosing new locations. It is always a good time discovering places that you may have never known existed prior to that trip.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
This is a hard one. I took voice lessons for many years and still really enjoy singing but there are a few songs that I would want to belt out a little bit more than others. Those would be Call You Mine by the Chainsmokers, anything by the one and only Michael Jackson, an assortment of country songs and if I felt really enthusiastic about the occasion, I may even hit that stage to spit some Eminem or G-Eazy. This question depends a great deal on what day I’m caught on.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
My proudest accomplishment is hands down, no questions asked, my son. I actually never wanted kids and when I found out that I was pregnant my heart dropped in the pit of my stomach and panic overcame every ounce of me. Eight months later, two of which included me being restricted to only bed rest, I found myself pacing up and down our home with our bulldog, Lizzie right by my side, up and down, up and down. While my anxiety continued to increase due to Noah not being due for another six weeks, Noah’s dad remained relaxed and calm as he showered, packed, and prepped (he may have even cleaned up the kitchen)!
Four hours and one C-section later, I was able to meet the most loving, empathetic, sensitive, brave, hysterical, smart, witty, carefree, perfectionist, smart-aleck, motivated, and encouraging little boy; Noah Joseph Moore. Noah has taught me so much about life and me that I cannot thank him enough for simply allowing me to be his mom. Although none of these things are close to mastered, he has brought me patience, restraint, understanding, calmness, rationalization, thoughtfulness, and selflessness among so much more. Noah is my everything and we are extremely close.
The majority of mornings I get to wake up to his sweet, innocent voice whispering sweet nothings above my head. Phrases like, “good morning my beautiful princess, how did you sleep?”, or “good morning, you look so gorgeous when you are sleeping” are just a few of his lines from the regular agenda. Noah is extremely noteworthy. He is so pure and innocent, wanting to be friends with everyone, not understanding or taking part in people’s biases, judgments, and stereotypes—not even being able to wrap his mind around why people would be mean based on those things in the first place…or for any reason in general.
He is a phenomenal dancer and singer. He will completely take your breath away when he starts gearing up to hit a high note. He is the youngest in his hip hop dance class and constantly is being given compliments on how good he performs, and practices. I am the most proud of Noah because it doesn’t matter where he goes, it is without a doubt that he will spread joy to at least one person in the room. He always tells others, “I am just trying to make you happy by being silly”.
If only more people could treat each other more similar to how Noah demonstrates it to us on a daily basis, this world would be in for quite the change. A change for the better.
Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse, or drive a car?
I would rather drive a car for the convenience (I know, exercise is good for us and driving is not the best option for air quality, but it’s always going to be something). I also love being able to listen to music while driving, and having the power to decide whether or not to stay hot or cold, dry or wet?!
Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
This one really stumped me for a while because I was focusing on actresses that look similar to me. Ultimately, I felt that it didn’t matter whether or not I resembled my top pick therefore I would want Angelina Jolie to act as myself. I feel as if she can be sweet or romantic when needed, and will flip the switch faster than you can blink and suddenly she is taking out guys, girls, you name it out with her fighting scenes (however I have never been in a fight in my life and do not intend to). Angelina Jolie is unapologetically herself; she is a mother, a hard worker, unique, mysterious, independent, and doesn’t let anything stop her from accomplishing who she is and what she has set out to do no matter what is being said or done to her.
Why do you choose to continue living in Wyoming?
I choose to continue to live in Wyoming for many reasons; most of which derived shortly after Noah was born. I suddenly appreciated Wyoming’s limited population which directly decreases things like violence, substance abuse, physical abuse, and/or elderly abuse. In addition, Wyoming’s smaller communities can make for fantastic areas for children to grow up in. Filled with rolling plains and desert for days, kids and adults of all ages are free to let loose in the outdoors away from society at any point in time. On top of those items, Wyoming has a great Department of Education who continues to reach out to the governor.
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