Black Hills Works Foundation Recognizes Achievements
Anya Mueller introduces us to Gwyn, one of the four Black Hills Works Clients to receive an outstanding achievement award at this year’s annual Gala.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Annual Recognition Gala for Black Hills Works Foundation is November 5 and 6.
Black Hills Works supports more than 600 people with a variety of disabilities in the Black Hills Area.
Gwyn Whitmore is being recognized for her contributions to the community and her workplace. Her employment at Servall helps to get her going each day and save money to purchase daily necessities and go on vacations.
Gwyn says she is grateful to have a job, “To have money to pay for rent, have my own place to live like food and and it’s just have a job and do a lot of stuff with money and like take a trip like I did to Minnesota.”
Gwyn participates in many of the fitness challenges that the Black Hills Works puts on and enjoys hiking. She also takes advantage of the staff-led cooking classes and works to stay on a healthy path.
Gwyn mentions, “Then I learn how to cook. I just learn how to make homemade chili in my crockpot and I’m eating healthy and I’m outgoing, I’m doing other, a lot of stuff just to get out and do stuff. It’s better to keep yourself motivated and keep yourself busy.”
Being active in the community is also important to her.
Gwyn adds, “I like to do stuff in community like summer nights. And then if they have like Pumpkin Festival, I’ve been – I’ve been doing that, then going around and seeing what kind of pumpkin steak or, like, baked ones, and I like to meet, walk around and see other people that are there and stuff.”
She advocates for people with disabilities as an active member of the A Team.
“And I’m proud to be a part of the A team. It’s like I have a voice and write your choice in your voice. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Pierre for their learning disability awareness,” says Gwyn.
Gwyn went to school in Box Elder and joined Black Hills Works after graduation. She considers the Foundation a big part of her life saying, “They helped me out really big. They help me with finding a job and they are there for me if I need anybody to talk to and I’m glad, I’m proud of the work shirt and I’m glad I’m living in the workshop home. Be around the staff and I have a big workshop family ’cause they’re supportive and I love them.”
The Foundation chooses award recipients each year based on their achieved goals and community participation.
Carrie Moser, Black Hills Works Foundation Dir. of Engagement, says, “When reviewing Gwen’s nomination, a couple of things that really stood out to us were how far she has come over the last several years in terms of her living situation becoming more independent, improving her work skills, going to work everyday finding a job that really works for her. Like I said, her living skills, moving from having roommates to now living in her own apartment and able to maintain that and the then the thriving that comes along with it. So not being so reclusive and hiding away in her apartment, but being more active and engaged in her community here at Saint Cloud as well as in the community at large. So going out and participating in different community events like Summer Nights and the fair, and that different kind of things, but and then her involvement with the A Team and advocating for not only herself but her peers as well. And it was just really clear and evident how far Gwyn has come in the last several years.”
Gwyn says she is excited for the Gala next weekend and has a place picked out in her apartment where her plaque will be placed.
Instead of selling tickets, Black Hills Works Foundation invites members of the community to participate by giving a donation in honor of Gwyn and other honorees.
This year’s Gala theme is Rooted and Rising – Growing Together with Black Hills Works.
A monetary contribution to the foundation can be given in Gwyn’s name online. Click here for the link.