By Adam Maly
Neligh has seen a resurgence of young families moving into the area recently, and the women of Neligh want to help the community.
That resurgence sparked the creation of the Women of Neligh (WON) organization, which is already making a splash in the community.
In their short time, the organization has already been active helping the Neligh Young Men’s Club’s Novemberfest event, and they’re now selling tickets for an appliances giveaway.
Prizes include a washer and dryer set, a stove and another dryer all donated by Black Hills Energy, according to WON president Lianne Lawson.
She said tickets are just $5 each are available with WON members, as well as at the Neligh Chamber of Commerce and Antelope County News. They’ll also be sold at several businesses in Neligh. The drawing will be held March 2 at the second annual Antelope County Ag & Home Expo.
Other officers are Jennifer Smidt, vice president; Vanessa Nelson, secretary; and Tessa Hain, treasurer.
Lawson said the WON is raising money for long-term plans to benefit the community. To do the most good, she said they need to have non-profit status. Until they have enough funds for the application, Lawson said the WON are working under the umbrella of the Neligh Chamber of Commerce, which is 501 c(3).
“One of our goals is to be an official organization by the end of the year,” Lawson said.
She said WON members want to improve the community, not just for women and not just for a specific group but the entire community as a whole. It’s one of the reasons they chose not to have “young” in their name.
“We’re not discriminatory. ‘Young’ is a word we’re not using,” member Lauren Sheridan-Simonsen said. “If you’re still living, you’re still young. Why not get out there and help.”
Lawson said project ideas discussed in WON’s January meeting included park cleanup, a backpack program for school children, a non-profit donation site with the Orphan Grain Train and many other suggestions.
“We’re not looking to help one specific age group,” Lawson said. “We’re looking to make it diverse, so a lot of different people can benefit from it.”
WON plans to increase its number of members by word of mouth and social media. Lawson said any female in Neligh is welcome to join the organization.
“We’re still growing and forming, so if anybody is interested in joining, contact us on Facebook or reach out to one of our officers,” Lawson said.
Sheridan-Simonsen said she believes in the future of WON in the community and sees current members as well as other women in Neligh as great people to keep the organization alive and well.
“They have the energy the time the talent, the abilities, the education to get this organization up and running,” Sheridan-Simonsen said.
In addition, Lawson has a concise vision as president.
“My goal as president is to help unite the women of the Neligh area and form our organization while helping out the community,” she said.
The next WON meeting will be Thursday, Feb 2 at 7 p.m. at the Imperial II in Neligh.