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Wyo Help is here to help

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Lydia Pongratz, NLJ Reporter

Life can be difficult to navigate, but according to Wyo Help Wyoming, their team of experts identify with a clear mission to improve the quality of life for people in need by empowering them to become more self-sufficient. That help has come to Weston County with an office in Newcastle.

“We originally started in Natrona County trying to find solutions to help teens and added families and have just been moving on from there as we’ve been adding other grants and programs,” said Kyle Borger, executive director of Wyo Help, who has been with the organization since the beginning.

“We really want to help families to be self-sufficient and help communities to be self-sufficient too. With that, it means addressing potential challenges or barriers, but overall it’s helping cities to be healthy. So that’s a huge, wide area of possibilities, and so part of our work is to learn how to narrow it down one thing at a time,” Borger said.

Having the resources to help people is an important part of achieving the group’s mission.

“Part of what we’re working on is making sure we have resources for families and individuals to help them to become self-sufficient, whether it’s in payment assistance or referrals to support programs or to classes or training or child care,” Borger explained.

Some people have more “challenges” than others, and those can require more resources.

“Some of the challenges and some of the costs are so substantial that we don’t have the financial funds available to support everything. So a lot of what we do, honestly, is the little tidbits right now. So, maybe it’s one session to get them connected, and then it’s trying to find where there are additional resources or is there some sort of a program out there they can qualify for,” Borger said. “It’s difficult for one entity to have all of the answers, so our goal is to coordinate efforts with all of the support groups out there who specialize in certain things and do them really well.”

Developing community partners is key to Wyo Help’s success, he said.

“So, developing a family resource center like we are in Newcastle, that’s a part of getting to know who the community partners are, what resources exist and how we can better coordinate those resources for a family,” Borger said. “Then the next step, how do we address all those barriers or challenges at a community or county level or even a state level, to where maybe we can make an improvement and make it easier for families to have those opportunities that they need to be healthy and self-sufficient.”

Wyo Help is now operating in six counties, including Weston.

“My primary work as executive director is to help build and develop the vision, make connections in the counties that we serve, work with board and community members to figure out what directions we’re heading, what prevention services we should offer, making sure that we have the funding available that we need,.” said Borger.

How to get assistance

People can register at Wyo Help, which then works to develop the needed resources to meet the need. There is generally no charge for the services Wyo Help offers, although some classes or programs the organization refers people to may have a fee. The organization depends largely on grants for the work it does, which is primarily acting as a referral agency.

“So, in terms of access, we have been developing the website because people can’t always make it during regular office hours. So we try to make sure that resources are available at all hours of the day or at least they can make initial contact. But we have a staff and an office there in Newcastle. They can contact that person; they can go to our location there,” Borger said.

Wyo Help is based in Torrington. To contact the Weston County office of Wyo Help, call 307-269-8490. The office is located in Suite G, 128 W. Main St., in Newcastle. Channing Lutz is the resource coordinator. Board members are Tyrel Owens, Marty Ertman and Mandy Horath, Candice Mundt, Amanda Shahadey, Kimberly Harris, Rebecca Prall, Leslie Patterson and Shelly Duncan.

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