Keeler Women's Center
Keeler offers free
Mondays: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesdays: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursdays: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
We are closed on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
Thank you for your interest in Keeler Women’s Center. We are grateful for the opportunity to tell you more about our ministry.
At Keeler Women’s Center, our mission is to empower women in the urban core through education, advocacy, personal and spiritual development.
The sisters of Mount St. Scholastica came to Kansas more than 150 years ago to teach young women. Our work at Keeler Women’s Center continues that mission, though in a different format. In addition to our small staff of sisters, more than 100 volunteers donate time each month to make a difference in the lives of women.
Through our programs and services, we see firsthand how women become instruments for change in their families and neighborhoods. When we help a woman learn to read or speak English, manage her health or finances, or start a business, we see her create ripples of hope and change that lift up her children and her community.
We appreciate your interest in our work and invite you to become involved.
Frequently asked Questions
Keeler Women’s Center is a ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas.
The Center is staffed by:
- Two Benedictine Sisters
- An associate director
- A part-time counselor
- Several former interns who have returned as licensed volunteers.
- A master’s level social work intern from the University of Kansas
The staff collaborates with other non-profit organizations and about 100 volunteers each month to offer a variety of programs and services.
Our mission is to empower women in the urban core through education, advocacy personal and spiritual development.
We partner with professional volunteers and other non-profit organizations to provide a variety of free programs and services. Our licensed clinical counselors see women regardless of their ability to pay.
We have no boundaries. Our programs are open to anyone who wants to attend. We serve women from the metropolitan area and beyond. Although we base our decisions on the needs of women, we also serve men. Support groups and some programs are limited to women. When possible, we provide childcare for women as they attend our programs and receive services. Women are referred to us by area churches, by women we have helped previously, as well as by many non-profit or government agencies that serve the poor.
We serve an average of 3,323 clients per year (both men and women); we offer childcare to approximately 514 children per year whose mothers are attending programs or receiving services.
Last year, our volunteers totaled 6,725 hours.
Volunteers help answer the phone, register women for programs, and offer hospitality and childcare. Professional volunteers offer many ongoing programs and services.
Contact us at (913) 906-8990.
We provide a life-skills program every month for women at the Wyandotte Detention Center. A literacy tutor teaches at the Lansing prison and another volunteer does spiritual direction for women in the Topeka Correctional Facility. We offer Easy English and basic literacy classes at several local libraries in Wyandotte and Johnson counties.
We accept various donations, including (but not limited to):
- Gift cards for any major gas station, grocery store, or CVS/Walgreens
- Rosaries or religious items
- Personal care items: Shampoo, conditioner, body wash (New/lightly used products accepted)
- Hotel/travel sized toiletries
- Dental care: Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
- Perfume samples
- Un-opened packages of make up or beauty products
- Unused haircare products (brushes, hairbands, scrunchies)
Our funding comes through the ministry fund of the Benedictine Sisters. Annually the development office sponsors a major fundraiser, Night of Dreams, which helps fund the salaries of the sisters on staff. We also receive grants and individual donations to assist with salaries, program expenses, and hospitality costs. Several small fundraisers also help. We are grateful to Catholic Charities for providing space.
We are a ministry of Mount St. Scholastica, Inc. and our EIN number is 48-0548363. Donations can be made to Mount St. Scholastica, Inc. for Keeler Women’s Center. Information about memorials and other gifts is available.
Meet the Staff
Sr. Suzanne Fitzmaurice was born and raised in Omaha, NE. She graduated with a dual degree in Ministry and Elementary Education from Creighton University. After graduation, she moved to Houston, TX as an Area Director with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She then moved into full time ministry as a Director of Youth Ministry for the next six years.
In 1998, she entered the Benedictine Sisters and began teaching theology at Notre Dame High School. Sr. Suzanne returned to school at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkley and obtained her Masters in Pastoral Ministries. She returned to teaching theology at Cristo Rey High School and in 2018 was asked by the community to join the staff at Keeler Women’s Center.
Brenda Mortell previously was the family services director at Heartland Habitat for nine years. In that post, she oversaw the home-buyer purchase, education and financial literacy processes. She also was a community organizer and community safety initiative coordinator at Community Housing of Wyandotte County was the Kansas City, Kan., study circles program coordinator for United Way of Wyandotte County and was a project coordinator for the Kansas City, Kan., Area Chamber of Commerce. A second-generation immigrant and a long-time resident of Kansas City, Kan., Mortell graduated from F.L. Schlagle High School and Donnelly College and attended Rockhurst University. She has served on the Keeler advisory board for two years and teaches the monthly Common Cents classes at the center.
Maria Ortiz-Towner is a bilingual Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapy as well as a Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor. She has been in the field for twenty years and has worked in various environments. She was a therapist in a Maximum Security Prison working with many offenders who were serving Life Sentences. In addition, she had her own private practice for several years and has worked in both inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs both with adults and adolescents. She just recently came to Keeler Women’s Center as the full-time therapist and is overjoyed at having the opportunity to work within the urban core and for a non-profit agency serving the needs of those who would not otherwise have the ability to benefit from seeing a therapist. Maria has been married for twenty-six years and has two adult children. Maria welcomes the opportunity to work with any individual, couple or family who would like to enter into counseling.