After about two years at Catholic Charities, Alison Keough took the helm as vice president of family and children’s services. Following her appointment, Charity Works spoke with Keough about the ministries she oversees, what makes them unique and her experience before joining the organization.
Charity Works: Tell us about Catholic Charities’ mission in serving families and children. What’s your main goal?
Alison Keough: Our main goal is to support children and families; we want our families to be in safe and healthy homes. We want to help each family where they are and get them to where they need to be. We want to help them be more self-sufficient, to work with them on finding resources, and prepare their children for school. I think we provide such a range of services.
CW: How is this mission different from other charitable organizations? What does it mean to “meet them where they are”?
Keough: As a ministry, we work with a variety of people, but we all go from a strength-based approach. We meet clients where they are by seeing what they have, by helping them realize and build on their strengths. When working with families with young children, this can be teaching them they are the first teachers of their children. It’s about giving them respect so they can be successful. We also want them to feel confident. We want to provide a sense of community and family within our programs and be able to provide all of them with a positive atmosphere, with the knowledge that if they need assistance that they should be comfortable asking. That’s what I think makes Catholic Charities very special.
CW: Tell us what led you to come to Colorado and work for Catholic Charities.
Keough: I moved from Yuma, Ariz. where I lived for 17 years. I worked with migrant and seasonal Head Start programs. I also worked as an adjunct professor at Arizona Western College where I helped build and run their child development learning lab. Before I left, I was working with the Arizona Department of Education. My daughter lives in Aurora and invited me to Denver. She sent me the job description at Catholic Charities and said that it sounded like me. When the opportunity arose, my husband and I jumped on it. We’ve been here for two years and love it.
What is Family and Children’s Services?
-Early childhood programs, including Head Start and Early Head Start programs at six sites across Denver for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old.
-Home-based services for families that are a combination of home visits and socialization activities.
-Home-based counseling program for families referred through the Department of Human Services.
-Senior adult service programs that includes housing for low-income residents and centers that provide activities for seniors during the day.
-Kinship care program for people raising other family member’s children.
Child care locations
Child Development Center, 1155 Decatur St. 303-629-5466
Garfield Head Start, 872 S. Knox Court 303-922-9885
Kentucky Head Start, 852 S. Knox Court Phone: 303-935-9453
Mariposa, 1240 W. 10th Ave. 720-328-4796
Margery Reed Mayo Day Nursery, 1128 28th St. 303-308-1420
Annunciation School, 3536 Lafayette St. 303-295-2515