Cathy Baim relocated to Conifer in 2008 because of her husband’s job…. Yet, ironically, it was her husband’s job that ultimately led Cathy to unselfishly follow a path that would serve to help members of our community.
Cathy is a licensed clinical social worker who maintained two private practices in Wisconsin, but initially took some time off after moving to Colorado. She then accepted employment with Mountain Peace Shelter (PeaceWorks, Inc.) as a counselor, working there for a year. It was there that she met PeaceWorks’ Volunteer Coordinator Sharon Smith, Executive Director of Evergreen Christian Outreach.
Unfortunately, Cathy’s husband’s job didn’t work out, which prompted him to seek other employment wherever the best opportunity would present itself. When he secured a job on the East Coast and their departure from Colorado seemed inevitable, the couple’s plan to move was somewhat compromised due to the stalled real estate market.
“About a week and a half before we were set to move, Sharon called me and said ‘where are you?’ and when I told her I was still here in Conifer, she asked me if I wanted a job,” said Cathy. Coupled with the fact that the Baims couldn’t sell their house at the time, Sharon Smith’s employment offer at Evergreen Christian Outreach (EChO) was one that Cathy Baim couldn’t refuse. So while it was mutually agreed that her husband would move to Florida to pursue his career, Cathy stayed here and stepped into the role of Director of Client Services, a position she has held for over three years.
Evergreen Christian Outreach (EChO), in its 28th year of providing goods and services to needy families in Evergreen and surrounding areas, originally began operation as a food bank, which is still a large part of its daily operation. Over the years, many families needing food and financial assistance have been referred to EChO by religious congregations. Its success is due to the generosity of countless organizations/business partners, donors, and local residents who help them meet the needs of our mountain community through food bank donations, and clothing and miscellaneous donations to the EChO Resale Shop.
“People come through our door for lots of different reasons. Not only do we want to help the community and provide those people in need with food and other vital services,” explained Cathy Baim, “but also we want to offer them enough information, resources, and skills to enable them to move forward toward self-sustainability.”
In the three-plus years Baim has been a part of EChO, except for the food bank aspect of the organization, she has dealt directly with meeting the needs of clients walking through the door. Further, based on the organization’s goal of sustainability and self-sufficiency for its clients, she has been instrumental in starting many of its new programs.
To this end, Cathy has worked with outside resources, including four Denver Seminary interns who had been assigned client counseling responsibilities relating to health insurance options (prior to Obamacare), tools to reach self-sustainability, and more. In addition, EChO now has a budget program in place to help clients with budgetary matters, as well as a job program that includes resume-writing seminars, one-on-one job coaches, and small business workshops, to help clients find work or secure better paying employment. All these programs are free and are conducted by volunteers from the Pathfinders organization.
“Fifty percent of the people going through the job program have found jobs. It has really moved some folks forward that may not have otherwise moved forward without the program,” stated Baim who said the most rewarding part of her job is transitioning people from the services EChO provides and watching them gain the skills and confidence they need to take charge of their own lives and the lives of their family members.
“But for every client that we can move toward self-sustainability, there will always be someone else who will need our help—and we are always going to be here to help those people in need.”
Cathy Baim has served EChO and its clients well as Director of Client Services. She will retire from her position at the end of August 2014 to be with her husband in Chicago, take care of some family business, and enjoy recuperative time off before determining what new direction and life adventure she will pursue. Cathy will be missed but not forgotten. She has left her footprints of accomplishment deeply embedded in Evergreen and our surrounding mountain communities—and for all her service and dedication there is nothing else to say but “thank you.”