Widboom one of five Southwest Crisis Center Faces of Hope

WORTHINGTON -- In her profession as a Mary Kay Independent Sales Director, Teresa Widboom is all about helping others put their best faces forward. It's appropriate, then, that Widboom is one of the five 2017 "Faces of Hope" honorees selected by ...

Southwest Crisis Center staff and MK5K volunteers, including Teresa Widboom (second from left), sort T-shirts in advance of the MK5K, which serves as an important fundraiser for the SWCC. (Special to the Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- In her profession as a Mary Kay Independent Sales Director, Teresa Widboom is all about helping others put their best faces forward.


It’s appropriate, then, that Widboom is one of the five 2017 “Faces of Hope” honorees selected by the Southwest Crisis Center (SWCC) as the agency’s annual fundraising dinner, set for April 22, approaches.


The SWCC serves a five-county area, and Widboom is the Nobles County “Face of Hope” nominee. Representing the other counties as “Faces of Hope” this year are Carrie Anderson (Jackson), Nancy Lange (Rock), Terry Vajgrt (Pipestone) and Myra Heckenlaible (Cottonwood).



“‘Faces of Hope’ began in Nobles County in 2008, at the same time we had similar events in other counties we serve, such as ‘Hometown Heroes’ in Jackson County,” explained Kari Voss-Drost, assistant director of the SWCC.

“In 2014, after a couple years off from having an awards banquet and fundraiser, we initiated one event to cover all five counties and kept the name ‘Faces of Hope,’” Voss-Drost said.


“The event rotates among the five counties annually, and this year it’s taking place in Jackson County.”


With the grounds of the Round Lake Vineyards and Winery as the backdrop next Saturday night, attendees will enjoy a meal, silent and live auctions, featured speaker Ed Heisler of “Men as Peacemakers” and the awards presentation at which Widboom and her fellow honorees will be recognized.



“Faces of Hope” recipients are selected for the significant impact they have made in supporting survivors and victims of domestic and/or sexual violence.


“Past honorees have included volunteers who have completed training and work directly with survivors, court or law enforcement staff who go above and beyond to treat survivors with respect and ensure their safety, county attorneys who take the time to listen to survivors and individuals who volunteer to help organize awareness or fundraising events year after year,” listed Voss-Drost.

Local MK5K initiator Widboom falls primarily into the latter category.


In 2008, Widboom initiated a MK5K in Worthington during the weekend of the Nobles County Fair.


“It’s the perfect venue for the MK5K,” extolled Widboom. “It brings walkers and runners to the fairgrounds to support local youth organizations like FFA and 4-H and to enjoy all the fair has to offer.



“The first few years of the MK5K, proceeds went directly to the Mary Kay Foundation, a charitable organization that helps fund research for cancers affecting women and fights to end the epidemic of domestic violence by giving grants to women’s shelters and community outreach programs.”


In 2016, the Mary Kay Foundation gave 150 U.S. domestic violence shelters $20,000 each, for a grand total of $3 million.


When Widboom began renting space in 2011 for her Mary Kay studio in the same building on Diagonal Road where the SWCC was then located, she became increasingly tuned in to the needs closer to home.


“I got to know the SWCC staff members and thought working with them on the MK5K would be a great way to collaborate and keep some of those funds local,” explained Widboom.


Although Widboom says she has always been aided in operating the MK5K (a committee of Mary Kay consultants and other volunteers contribute to its success, she credited), the partnership with SWCC expanded the efforts even further. The direct connection between the MK5K and the SWCC began with the 2012 MK5K.


“This is such a fabulous collaboration and has allowed the event to have even more of a local outreach theme,” assured Widboom.


“It seems like people are more ready and willing to support causes within their own communities, so the added participation in the MK5K is a fun, fit way for people to donate to the SWCC and make a positive impact for their neighbors who find themselves in crisis situations.”

Filling a need In 2008, about 50 people participated in the MK5K here; in 2017, Widboom estimates the ninth annual MK5K may involve about 200 runners and walkers.


“Each year the MK5K has raised more money than the year before,” reported Voss-Drost. “Last year they donated over $2,000. The funding goes primarily to safe housing survivors and their children, who need things like personal hygiene items, clothing, medications and food.


“Funds are also needed for gas money to get to medical appointments, job interviews or advocate meetings, or to change a door lock or purchase a security camera.”


Additionally, Voss-Drost credits Widboom for her willingness to help in other ways, including her frequent donation of Mary Kay products for survivors in need.


“Teresa was nominated because she has come to the SWCC time and time again, eager to do anything she can to help, either in the form of donations or of time and energy,” said Voss-Drost.


Widboom - the mother of four children, ages 5 to 12 - is motivated by a passion for peace and justice.


“I have always believed a child’s home should be a safe haven, and my heart breaks to know some homes are more like war zones where many innocent children never feel safe,” expressed Widboom.


April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and last year the SWCC served 433 people and provided safe housing for 97 nights.


“These people [the SWCC staff] are so incredible,” attributed Widboom.


“They make major sacrifices to help their clients who struggle through crises, and their work saves lives. They are shining examples of the Golden Rule.”


Widboom says she is greatly humbled to be a “Face of Hope” honoree.


Said Widboom, “When we give a little slice of ourselves to an important cause like the SWCC, we can make an impact beyond our own imaginations.”

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