Angel Welsh, a former school teacher, is chasing a new dream as the Executive Director of My Sister’s Keeper. The nonprofit will be a shelter for women and children that will provide safety, support, education, case management, and more.
“We have a lot of women and children in our community that are without housing. When people say they didn’t realize we had that problem, I tell them that they are amongst your children in class. They’re checking you out at grocery stores, and you just walk right past them,” Welsh said. “Our goal is to be able to help those women and children in this building.”
Welsh recognizes that different people who come into the shelter will have different needs, which is why they will provide specialized care and work with each individual to help them improve their quality of life.
“We want it all. Whether that means a woman that comes in and all she ever gets from us is a safe place to stay and something to eat, or the woman that comes through the doors and her entire life is changed and she comes back and volunteers with her kids one day,” Welsh said. “We want to meet women and children exactly where they are and walk with them. Ultimately everyone would have a case management plan where we could work on getting them to where they’re thriving and doing what’s best for them. We also know that there will be some that this is where they will thrive, and we’re okay with that too.”
On Wednesday, the shelter held a meeting during which they announced the kickoff of their “keeper campaign.” They asked the public to come alongside them as “keepers” and invest $20 a month or $250 a year to be a part of the “keeper family” to help get their doors open and keep them open. To make a donation or become a keeper, contact 270-231-5686 or Venmo @mysisterskeeper270.
The term “keeper” has held a special meaning for Welsh throughout her life, which is part of what inspired her to take on this project.
“I was raised by a single mother and we were very poor, but there were women and friends in my life who came alongside me. They were like a keeper to me and they helped me make it through life,” Welsh said. “I want people to know we’ve got to take care of one another, and that’s what we want to do here. We want women to realize they’re not alone.”
Independence Bank, the shelter’s first corporate donor, presented a check for $20,000 Wednesday because they believe in what Welsh is doing for the community.
“Angel and every person that’s involved in this incredible program are going to change lives,” said Lauren Patton, who is in charge of the bank’s charitable foundation. “It’s an amazing opportunity for people to move forward and to have a more promising future because they’ll have these basic human needs met that everyone deserves. Independence Bank is very excited to be partnering with you in it.”
The shelter will start out as an overnight facility with plans to grow into a 24-hour facility in the future. The goal is to open around November, but Welsh said that is subject to change.
My Sister’s Keeper is located at 2820 W. 4th Street, and can be contacted at their phone number 270-231-5686. They can also be kept up with on Facebook and Instagram through @mysisterskeeper270.