Wyoming Tribune Eagle
May 13, 2023
By Katie Hogarty, Climb Wyoming CEO

Moms make a lot possible when they encourage us, inspire us and teach us to be brave and never give up. This Mother’s Day, there are so many moms across Wyoming who are lifting their families up in life!

I’d like to honor some especially courageous moms who are making profound and meaningful impacts in their communities. You may have seen them driving trucks or school buses in your community, taking your blood pressure at the doctor’s office or greeting you at the front desk of a local real estate office.

These moms have been on a brave journey out of poverty and into new careers through Climb Wyoming’s free job training and placement program for low-income single moms.

Single moms and their children experience the highest rates of poverty among families in Wyoming, and their struggles living in deep poverty are profound. Some face addiction, past incarceration, unemployment or years feeling stuck in low-wage jobs.

Moms who go through the Climb program benefit from intensive industry training in a specific field, followed by ongoing support in a job placement. The model has a long track record of success, in part because we address the whole life of a participant by offering group and individual counseling and life-skills classes.

It’s fitting that in May we celebrate Mother’s Day and Mental Health Awareness Month because when a mom is supported in her mental well-being, she can achieve stability and find fulfilling, long-term employment.

I want to highlight the uplifting triumph moms can find when they start new careers that contribute to Wyoming’s workforce and create new lives for their children.

I think of Climb graduates like Diana, who recently returned to talk to current participants in a training focused on banking and customer service jobs. Diana shared that when she started Climb, she was painfully shy and coming out of a domestic violence situation. She barely spoke at the beginning, but as the weeks went by, developed more and more confidence with support from Climb’s caring staff, the program’s mental health provider and the other moms in her group.

When it came time for Diana’s job placement, she pushed herself to pursue a position as a bank teller, a job she never would have seen herself in because it’s so forward-facing and public. Diana shared that she recently received a promotion and coached the other moms on banking terminology they might encounter on the job.

“I just want to keep growing,” she said. “One day, I’ll look back and say, ‘I did it! I grew. I started a professional career. I built myself and my family up.’”

My hope is that the national conversation on poverty alleviation includes the success of moms like Diana who are literally lifting their families up and out of poverty. Their resilience and strength are taking families from struggling to make ends meet to thriving with higher wages, decreased dependence on public assistance programs and progress toward long-term goals like buying a home or going back to school.

When we see someone’s potential to overcome adversity instead of focusing on their limitations, we are lifted up, too. When a mom overcomes poverty, it has a mass ripple effect by positively impacting our schools, employers and neighborhoods.

Children benefit in innumerable ways when they see their moms find success in work and life. Suddenly, a whole new world of opportunity opens up in front of them, and the generational cycle of poverty comes to an end.

So this Mother’s Day, join me in celebrating the courageous and professional moms who are working to make Wyoming a better place for families and communities. We are all stronger when we rise together!