Meet Some of the Keeler Women, Volunteers and Community Partners
Rachel Pollock serves as Director of Refugee Services for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, one of the center’s partners. Her office is located next to the Keeler director’s office. It was in her early work with the refugees that she discovered the many resources that Keeler Women’s Center has to offer women from all walks of life. Her initial interaction with the Center was to refer clients for massages and haircuts, and very soon thereafter she was referring refugees to S. Esther for counseling, to the domestic violence classes, to Easy English classes and even to the knitting group. She immediately felt the calm atmosphere of the Center and recognized that the serenity that pervades Keeler would help her clients in their search for peace and tranquility in what is often a chaotic world and life situation. Rachel noted that the atmosphere of the center, characterized by fresh flowers, soft music and warm hospitality, are a reflection of the sisters’ generosity and their dedication to service. She commented, "The sisters see Jesus in the faces of the women who are served here." She feels that the variety of services offered at Keeler are making a very positive impact in the central city of Kansas City and that the peace, beauty and serenity that permeate the center touch the hearts of all who come--staff, volunteers and clients alike.
Marla Looper found the Keeler Women’s Center in 2008, through a friend. Today, she is a family interventionist serving individuals, couples and families impacted by addiction. Marla’s commitment to those at the Keeler Center is professional and personal. She began teaching Keeler classes when she was 16 years in recovery from alcoholism. “I’m not just growing myself, but seeing others grow too,” Marla says. “That enhances my own spirituality and recovery.”
The reentry group, Living Free, is designed for women who have recently been released from jail, guiding them through addiction, domestic violence and relationships. “We’re getting them to where they need to be to start over,” Marla says. Marla also leads Group Affirmations, the next step after Living Free. Participants gain abilities to change their thinking and their lives. Through group cognitive therapy, these women apply skills for independent, healthy lives.
“I didn’t ever think I’d do what I’m doing today. It’s been the best journey, beyond my wildest dreams,” she says. “Without the Keeler Center, I can’t imagine where I’d be.”
Ruth has been volunteering at The Keeler Women’s Center since the summer of 2011. She enjoys her position as the office’s Monday afternoon receptionist, where she greets Keeler’s guests, clients and volunteers, answers the phone, and takes messages. Ruth volunteered her services after seeing a call for volunteers in the Leaven. The sisters customized Ruth’s volunteer hours to meet her schedule, and Ruth hasn’t missed a day of work.
When asked about her work at Keeler, Ruth said, "It's just a nice place to be. I feel like it's a good match for me."
Read some quotes from Keeler women and clients
Megan Dieme, Counseling in partnership with MOCSA
Jackie Tigges, LSCSW, LCSW, Counseling