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Guest Column: Casper Star Tribune

Guest Column
Casper Star Tribune
May 9, 2021

Katie Hogarty
Climb Wyoming, Director of External Relations

This Mother’s Day, there are so many inspiring moms to celebrate for working harder than ever during challenging and uncertain times. At Climb Wyoming, we support single moms struggling to overcome poverty. Like many of us, these vulnerable families have faced school and employment closures, limited access to social networks, and loss of income—all with the added stress of not being able to meet basic needs like food and a place to live.

Yet, amidst the hardships of the past year, I’ve been incredibly inspired by the resilience and courage moms have shown as they’ve reached out to Climb for employment that will support more stable lives for themselves and their children.

A mom may be at the lowest point in her life when she makes that first phone call to Climb: feeling overwhelmed and in a place without hope after a lot of doors have closed.

I think of Climb graduates like Kelsey, who recently completed one of our Certified Nursing Assistant trainings. “2020 knocked me down more than once,” Kelsey says of the past year, “but gave me more reason to fight through this program and get the life I’ve been chasing and reaching for.”

With a 98% graduation rate and an 80% job placement rate, Climb’s 2020 graduates showed grit and determination during one of the most difficult years many of us have known. When our job trainings shifted to a virtual format, moms rose to the challenge, tackling computer software programs, practicing medical coding in an online simulator, and “zooming in” for on-screen mock job interviews.

To prepare for long-term success on the job, they created community with other single moms and met virtually with job trainers and mental health providers to address workplace barriers. They worked with parenting coaches to get tools for their children to thrive while learning at home. They gained critical executive functioning skills to problem solve, plan, and calm the chaos of this time.

And, as the pandemic was turning all our lives upside down, these moms bravely jumped into Wyoming’s workforce to fill essential jobs in healthcare, transportation, and more. They entered new careers and have now joined thousands of other Climb graduates to shine a lasting and positive light on their children, our communities, and the entire state of Wyoming. I truly believe that Wyoming is in a better place because of these moms, who are breaking the generational cycle of poverty as their children watch and learn by example how to be resilient in a crisis.

For the past 35 years, Climb has been built on the relationships we have with the moms we support, as well as with so many of you across the state who have been with us along the way. Together, we are helping Wyoming families grow stronger this Mother’s Day so that inspiring moms are ready for whatever challenges…and opportunities…come their way!