Jacqueline Grimes

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Albany County School District #1

What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?

One of the things I am most proud of was bringing a suicide prevention program to Laramie that is evidence-based that focuses on increasing individual's protective factors against suicide and orchestrating a cultural shift to one of support. During the 2014-2015 school year, the school district, university, and community faced a significant number of suicides, particularly among young people. The result of this was the formation of a Suicide Task Force that set a goal to address the crisis our community was facing. In addition to becoming a member of this group, I researched for a program that had a proven track record of success. This is an expensive program and the Task Force took on acquiring funding for this. Between the Episcopal Church, Kiwanis, and Rotary, funding was acquired to purchase the program. Initially the middle school was started but this quickly expanded to include Rock River and Laramie High School. In addition, Laramie Community College and the University of Wyoming began to adopt this model and train students as well. I am proud that 3.5 years later, this group is continuing to support this programming among young people and expanding efforts.

What is your primary personal development goal/business goal for the next 5 years?

My personal goal is to work with community and state agencies to find a better solution and/or treatment model for Mental Health in our state. There are multiple issues we are facing but one of the biggest hurdles is finding a treatment program that works and getting people to treatment. I plan to work on legislation that would recognize mental health concerns as a health concern that requires just as much coverage and support as other physical ailments such as diabetes. I would also like to see a campaign to normalize accessing treatment as Wyoming has a bit of a culture that frowns upon asking for help. Lastly, I would like to coordinate with community agencies, hospitals, and the University to look into not just researching why current treatment modalities are less effective above 3000ft., but what treatment would be effective for people.

What is your biggest philanthropic achievement?

Currently it is in assisting in acquiring funding to expand education resources to the community regarding suicide and how to protect their families. This will eventually expand into raising funds for treatment and a campaign to normalize accessing mental health support.

What action or event that you’ve been a part of do you believe has made the biggest difference in Laramie? Or, which action or event are you most proud of?

I believe the work that I am doing in mental health, particularly as it pertains to the students I work with, has been a positive experience. I have gotten to watch a cultural shift within my building from one that could be compartmentalized to one of inclusion. I also have been proud to be a part of a committee that includes multiple players invested in the health and safety of our residents. Problem-solving and acting on solutions has been not only rewarding but inspiring to watch come to fruition. Seeing the commitment and passion of all our neighbors makes me more dedicated than ever to helping.

What excites you most about the future of Laramie?

That the future is limitless here. Laramie is not bound to any one industry and the possibilities are endless. We have our own canvas and can invest and expand to community needs and interests. I think there are a lot of hardworking, passionate, and dedicated individuals who are taking the lead in Wyoming's future. Good leadership sets the tone and inspires participation, all things that lead to good outcomes.

What do you think has helped make you successful in your endeavors?

Passion and hope. Laramie is filled with passionate and hopeful people who are ready for action to make Laramie a better home and community. We have always been a pretty great place and part of that is because the people who reside here maintain their passion and love for Laramie.

What advice would you give to other young professionals in Laramie?

Do not hesitate to step up and be known. It can be hard for younger generations to shift from following older adult's lead into taking the lead but the transition is not nearly as complicated as you would expect. Be open, be flexible, be willing to learn, and be willing to take risks.

Optional: If you have anything else you’d like to share along with the answers you've provided through this selection process feel free to add any additional statements.

Myself and several other community members will be hosting an event in late January/early February to expand upon our efforts in mental health. We will be reaching out to the community to solicit participation so we can generate solutions that benefit the community.

20 Under 40Jacob Chavez2018