I will never forget the day that two former Presidents of the United States of America visited Kingsley House. It was the spring of 2006, and Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton came to announce the beneficiaries of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. Because I was a member of the Kingsley House Board of Directors at the time, my family and I were invited to attend the presentation and meet the Presidents. Though my boys were, at the time, more interested in the (admittedly impressive) motorcade than in seeing the Presidents, it was a memorable day for us all.
If you’ve ever encountered the secret service, you can imagine what it was like to have not one but two former Presidents spending the afternoon at Kingsley House. The entire operation was a marvel to behold. Yet although that day was undeniably exciting and unforgettable, a visit to Kingsley House doesn’t need secret service details and Presidents to make it memorable. With its culturally rich history (the Kingsley House pool, for instance, was the first integrated pool in the city) and its expansive impact on the community (more than 7,000 individuals, from infants to senior citizens, are currently participating in its programs), Kingsley House is easily one of the finest social services organizations in the United States. In fact, Kingsley House is a marvel to behold in its own right.
For the past century, Kingsley House has played a vital role in the social services landscape of southeast Louisiana. Its programs, share a common mission: to educate children, strengthen families and build community.
A “Rubik’s Cube” Philosophy
The Kingsley House philosophy reminds me a little bit of a Rubik’s Cube: though all of the rows are connected by a center axis, each row follows its own track. Programs for preschoolers, for example, have their own row. The next row might be for counseling services or afterschool programs for teens.
Though they each follow a directed path, they can move in tandem when necessary. A child who graduated from the Head Start program might return to Kingsley House for after-school tutoring in middle school. The grandparent of a preschooler in the Head Start program might enroll in an adult services program. Or perhaps an individual who has benefitted from the counseling services might urge a friend who is struggling with depression to call the Community Counseling Center. The squares and rows on the Rubik’s cube fit together in seemingly endless permutations, as do the various ways in which Kingsley House offers support.
Under the superb direction of Keith Liederman, Kingsley House is always evolving. The next task on the agenda is the expansion of its facility to include the new the Patrick F. Taylor campus. Among other things, the project will increase capacity for the ever-important Head Start and Adult Day Health Care programs. Kingsley House is never content to rest on its quite considerable laurels. The agency is constantly challenging itself to improve its already excellent programs and to deepen its capacity to serve those in need.
And that is how, more than one hundred years after the day it opened its doors, Kingsley House continues its legacy of changing lives and making a difference – to individuals, families and communities.
For more information and to learn how to volunteer, call 523-6221 or visit KingsleyHouse.org.
Heard something interesting for “making A difference?”
If so, please send it to: St. Charles Avenue,
110 Veterans Blvd., Suite 123, Metairie, LA 70005 or email Morgan@MyNewOrleans.com with the subject line “Making A Difference”