Sheridan Angels: A modern non-profit designed to meet today's needs

*Feature photo: Kelley Olson and her daughter Echo, 5, in the Sheridan Angels office today. / Pitchengine Communities* (Sheridan, Wyo.) — As non-traditional as its medium, Sheridan Angels has a timeless goal: helping those in need, and showing people how to pay it forward, once they are back are on their feet. Since 2012, with that goal in mind, Kelley Olson has worked days, nights, weekends and holidays to create Sheridan Angels. It started with a Facebook page, and grew into what it is today: A physical presence in the old Taylor School on North Main. "It is a joy—a lifestyle," Kelley says. "If there is a child in need, we just make it happen. It is just what we do." Kelley is the Wyoming recipient of the prestigious Jefferson Award , and will head to Washington D.C. in June to be honored among other Americans who drive to change their communities and the world. "The Jefferson Award was absolutely a surprise," Kelley said. "I am so very surprised, it hasn't even hit me yet. You know that feeling when something has happened, and something even more amazing is coming? It is a crazy feeling." And yet, for all its recognition, Sheridan Angels has never fit into a mold. It is not your traditional non-profit: It grew out of the social media era, and is an organization that tries to avoid red tape and overhead so it can meet immediate needs of people in emergency situations. It does that by connecting people through its Facebook page, where the model developed. "We really don't fit the typical mold," Kelley said. "We are very unique ... Sometimes, when we say we are social-media based, people kind of—they back away." When asked on Facebook, the Sheridan Angels connect people with necessary items like clothes, food and a bed, when other agencies may not be able or available to help. But that also means it can be challenging to find funding for such a unique organization. Kelley says Sheridan Angels needs monetary donations, and assistance from someone with grant writing experience who can navigate a system designed for more traditional organizations, helping to find funding for the Angels. When people are in dire need, the Angels will give out gas cards and pay utility bills, but does not give out cash. When the need is not quite as immediate, the Angels have a stock of donated essential items to give, all housed on North Main. What the Angels don't need, Kelley said, are household decor, resale items, so when considering donations, she asks that things like picture frames are not donated. This summer, the team will gear up for its Backpack program, filling 500 new backpacks with school supplies for local children. School supplies will be appreciated, she said. For more information on how to help—or if you need help—visit the Sheridan Angels on Facebook or online here . #dally #news