Kelli Gard

Center of Hope making a difference

    In May of 2012 the Volunteers of America merged with FCACC creating the Center of Hope and since then the Center has seen many improvements and success. Kelly Buckingham, who has worked with the center for 9 years, and Shelly Mbonu, who has worked at the center for 8 years, have helped the facility grow and change. 

    According to Kelly the number one purpose of the center is to "bridge the gap between here and treatment" and they are seeing a lot of success. From 2014 to 2015 the number of arrests and individuals taken to FCACC & Center of Hope is down by 218 people. According to the statistics the numbers of arrests and people coming into the center is decreasing every year. Kelly and Shelly said they are most happy about the number of people going into treatment which is increasing. In the 2014 fiscal year they sent 14 clients to treatment, in 2015 they sent 18 people to treatment and in 2016 they more then doubled 2015's number and sent 51 clients to treatment.   Shelly also said that the number of people coming into the center each night has gone down significantly. 


    The Center offers three different stages to their clients: Close observation, Social Detox and Transitional Living.

    Close Observation is a safe place for clients to come and detox. The beds are funded by The City of Riverton and Fremont County.  Social Detox is the next stage and typically last 2 weeks, offering clients a little more comfortable space to live and detox. Transitional Living offers them a place to live while they are waiting to be submitted to treatment which can be several months.

    No one is forced to get treatment and all of their clients are there voluntarily. If they don't want treatment they are not forced to stay. It is not a locked facility.

    Thanks to a donation from the Arapaho Tribe and Jim Nelson they were able to revamp the outside area adding a wood privacy fence, fire pit, grass area, trees, garden boxes and benches making the atmosphere more pleasant and comfortable. They said many of the clients have taken a lot of pride in the gardens this summer.


        The Center will be hosting their annual fundraiser to help raise awareness of substance abuse in our whole community. It's a fun night for families and is held at the Fremont Hall on October 27th from 5:30-7:30 pm. They will have a band, kids games, costume parade and contest and food. Its just $25 for a family, $10 for adults and kids 5 and under are free. People can come in and have have all the soup they want!

    In Riverton they work with the chronically addicted homeless and they want to bring awareness to the issues our community faces. Kelly said "How many of us know what its like to stand in a soup line?" They hope to have a great turn out and bring more awareness to the community.