Molleker earns Employee of the Year / Pawnee Mental Health serves 10 countiest

BELOIT – Gilletta Molleker, Beloit, has spent the last 24 years working with children and has since been rewarded  the 2017 Employee of the Year recipient at Pawnee Mental Health, during this years annual board meeting. She was selected by the managing team of Pawnee from 12 nominations. This honor follows her Employee of the Month award she received last July, which she was nominated by from her fellow employees. 

Molleker is married to Kelly Kimerer, (Beloit Motor Company),  and the couple have three grown children. She has been working for Pawnee since November of 2004. Molleker began as a case manager in children services and is now the Youth Rehabilitation Western Region Supervisor. She graduated from Kansas State University in 1981 with a Bachelors in Home Economics and was involved in the fashion industry from the age of 20 to 1993. After graduating, Molleker decided to switch to a Masters in Business but did not continue.

"I wanted to do private business, instead of corporate," said Molleker. 

Molleker began working at the Correctional Girls School facility in Beloit as an Independent Living Skills Coordinator. After 10 years when the government funding was no longer available, she joined Pawnee Mental Health as a case manager for children.

"It was just something I fell into, and it has worked for me," Molleker said. "I am really honored to be recognized with the Employee of the Year award."

Pawnee is running on their 62 years of service. They have been through a lot of changes through State funding cuts but remain the same in that they strive to provide quality services to their clients. Pawnee is governed by a Board of Directors, appointed by the commissioners of ten counties served by Pawnee including Clay, Cloud, Geary, Jewell, Marshall, Mitchell, Pottawatomie, Republic, Riley and Washington.

Pawnee will talk with all individuals and organizations about the services they offer.  

Pawnee all began after the Cloud County Commissioners agreed to fund Sunflower Guidance Center in 1967. Citizen support and education was led by the Cloud County Mental Health Association. Jewell and Republic counties joined the Sunflower service area in 1972 and Mitchell county joined in 1973. 

The board of directors changed the name to Pawnee Mental Health Services, Inc. in 1982 and a new office building opened in May of 2000. They ended their 13 year partnership to operate a psychiatric unit at the hospital in 2001, changed its organizational structure from a regional model to a program model, converted from a paper-based electronic medical record to electronic, and began a year long celebration of 50 years of service. The Endowment Association purchased Hayes Drive building in Manhattan in 2007 and had to lay off some staff in February of 2009 and again in January of 2010 due to cuts in the state grant funding.

In 2011, Pawnee celebrated 55 years of service. The Community Based Services (CBS) was renamed to Youth Rehabilitation Services (YRS) in 2014. The Community Support Services (CSS) was changed to Adult Rehabilitation Services (ARS). The Therapy and Recovery Services (TRS) are now consolidated services offered including Mental Health and Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Services.

In the same year of 2014, Pawnee opened Health Connect. This health home program was from the Kansas Medicaid Program (KanCare), but it was terminated in the year of 2016. 

One of four individuals will be diagnosed with a mental illness in any given year. Some illnesses will be a one-time occurrence while others will be severe and persistent. Mental disorders rank as the biggest health problem in North America, ahead of both cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Molleker has spent the last 24 years working with children. 

"It is extremely stressful at times," said Molleker. It isn't something you do for the money. It is a self fulfilling job that you enjoy for that reason. You see a lot of bad but a lot of good as well. When you see a child accomplish what others didn't think they could do, then it is a great feeling. I have met a lot of great parents and the kids are pretty cool. Even when there are some tense situations with acting out, we have to learn how to deal with it."

"Prevention and early intervention programs are so important in addressing the mental health of our communities," says Pawnee. 

Donations are vital to keeping mental illness services prominent in all areas needed. The Pawnee Mental Health Foundation is a 501c(3) not for profit corporation. They help assist individuals who are uninsured or unable to pay for services. Gifts to the Foundation are fully tax deductible. Donations can be sent to Cindy Donohoue, Develop Manager, PO Box 164, Manhattan, Kan., 66505. For more information, contact her at 785-587-4300, ext. 1266 or email development@pawnee.org

Individuals who shop local Dillons stores can use their Dillons Community Rewards cards to make donations to Pawnee Mental Health services by signing to their digital accounts at Dillons.com

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