Five Questions With… Kayla Mannikko

For this week’s Five Questions With, we learn more about the YWCA of Sweetwater County from Development Director Kayla Mannikko.

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1. What is the goal of YWCA?

YWCA of Sweetwater County is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Our goal is to help families in need in the community regardless of income.

2. What programs do you offer?

YWCA provides services through the Early Care and Learning Center, Financial Empowerment and the Center for Families and Children.

The Early Care and Learning Center provides quality childcare and preschool for children six weeks through 12 years of age, allowing parents to work and/or attend school.  The program delivers the tools necessary for school readiness, along with social, mental, and developmental skills essential for healthy growth. YWCA offers a sliding fee scale for individuals that qualify.  The agency believes that no child should go without quality childcare because of the inability to pay. To our knowledge, we are the only childcare program in Sweetwater County that offers a sliding fee scale and accepts DFS and provides CSBG assistance.

The Center for Families and Children is a multi-agency location that provides support, services and resources to victims of family violence.  Partnerships with Sweetwater County social service agencies and law enforcement allow victims to tell their story one time and receive the services necessary to move forward towards a life free from violence.  With a 24 hour safe house and crisis line, help is always available.  Partner agencies include; Rock Springs and Green River Police Departments, Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Department, County Attorney’s Office, Legal Aid of Wyoming, Southwest Counseling Services, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and Department of Family Services.

YWCA Financial Empowerment program provides basic financial education to individuals in Sweetwater County, free of charge.  The program provides instruction on opening and balancing a bank account, managing a household income, budgeting, utilizing local financial resources and basic fiscal management that will lead to self-sufficiency.  YWCA Financial Empowerment mentors individuals starting as early as elementary school to develop fiscal responsibility.   Advanced classes will be offered for individuals that have completed the basic instruction and/or been referred by a partner agency and will include managing personal credit history and applying for and managing credit accounts.

3. How can someone volunteer for YWCA and what would they do?

Volunteers play a vital role in our community and we appreciate ones interest in helping our community become a better place.  If someone is interested in volunteering, they can call 352-6635 and talk with our Development Director about what they would like to do.

YWCA Sweetwater County has many different areas one can volunteer in:

Early Care and Learning Center Volunteers would work in our child care classrooms with the teachers. We are committed to standards of excellence in child protection practices.  If someone wishes to volunteer directly with the children they will be required to complete a background check process.

-Center for Families and Children – Volunteers work with victims of family violence either in our offices or on our 24-hour crisis line.  If one is interested in volunteering for CFC, they will be provided a 40 hour mandatory training to help them be a supportive advocate for families.

-Project Based Volunteering – If an individual or group has a specific project they would like to do for YWCA then we would love to have their help.  Please call and talk with our Development Director about your ideas.

-Internships – If a student is interested in an internship as part of his/her education program please call and talk with us about how we may be able to help.

 4. What fundraisers do you have and what do the funds go to?

YWCA Sweetwater County has two main fundraisers; Festival of Trees and Bowls of Caring. The funds from these fundraisers benefit all YWCA Sweetwater programs and the individual life’s each program touches throughout each year.

Commerce Bank has partnered with us to host the 2017 Festival of Trees event. The silent auction with wreaths, gift baskets, and decorated trees will be at the Commerce Bank to be viewed November 29th and 30th followed by appetizers and a live auction (for the large decorated trees) on Friday December 1st.

Bowls of Caring starts in late January with Bowl Parties that consist of individuals or groups that paint a ceramic bowl. The Bowls of Caring dinner, silent auction and children games will be held in March of 2018. Admission will include; soups, bread, salad and desserts; children activities, raffles, silent auction, but most important a fun filled evening for the whole family to benefit YWCA Sweetwater County.

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5. How is YWCA funded?

YWCA is funded by United Way of Southwest Wyoming, Sweetwater County   Commissioners and Wyoming Attorney General, Division of Victim Services. Our agency also receives funding through grants, fundraisers and private donors.

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