The Need

Single mothers and their children experience the highest rates of poverty among families in Wyoming. The women we serve are living in crisis: unemployed or working low-wage jobs that don’t provide financial stability, dealing with stress that is toxic for the brain, and struggling to cover basic needs like food and housing.


63% of Wyoming children living below the federal poverty threshold are being raised by single parents.1


(Photo Above: Angela, pictured here with three of her sons, says her family experienced high levels of stress when she lost her job during the pandemic.)

Before COVID, Angela had a great job with a family-friendly schedule— but she was laid off when the pandemic forced her employer to close.

“I was feeling pretty broken,” says the mother of four boys. “It felt like I was going through the motions of life. I found a restaurant job but wasn’t home at night, so my kids were making sacrifices. I remember that I couldn’t buy my son football shoes.”

Angela wasn’t alone—nationwide, single moms have carried the burden of the pandemic, suffering more than any other household type from job loss, food insecurity, and lack of child-care options.

The toxic stress of poverty—feeling scared, juggling hard decisions, being hungry—dramatically impacts how the brain functions.

Mom and child icon

During the pandemic, half of single moms didn’t know how they would feed their kids.2

The single moms who come to Climb are under such high levels of stress that it has impacted their emotional regulation, planning, and decision making abilities, which creates barriers to work readiness and success.

Angela has seen firsthand how stress also impacts children. “Kids like routines and schedules. They don’t always understand why, but it’s important,” she says. “I don’t have the luxury of having another person to help. When things are stressful at home, you can definitely see it in the way kids act.”

Angela found a stable job for her family after completing Climb’s Commercial Driving training in the Sweetwater Area. She’s now a driver with FedEx, earning $29/hour plus mileage bonuses. For the first time, she has paid holidays, medical and dental insurance, and a retirement plan. And she can re-establish structure and stability for her family.

“I light up when I talk about my kids,” Angela says. “I’m thrilled to be showing them that you have to work hard for all good things that happen in your life.”


1 2020 Wyoming Kids Count Report

2 U.S. Census Bureau

the climb program

The Climb program has evolved for 35 years into one of the nation’s most successful models for moving families out of poverty.

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