BY SANDI P. BEASON
Kathryn McKee has spent her life caring for children.
She worked for 29 years with the Mississippi Department of Human Services, serving as director of the Itawamba County office. From there, she worked with Harden House in Fulton, then the Gardner-Simmons Home for Girls.
“I have known about Faith Haven for years,” she said. “I was a DHS social worker in the 80s, so I knew of its reputation for years.”
On March 1, she took the reigns as Faith Haven's executive director, following the retirement of longtime director Loraine Wesson. Wesson, who served in the position 17 years, is recovering from lung surgery.
“I thought that was one job I would really like when Mrs. Wesson retires,” McKee said. “When the opportunity came up to move to Faith Haven, that's what I did.”
McKee's leadership comes at a time of growth for Faith Haven; construction of a 6,000 square foot, $500,000 facility began in November. The building will house up to 12 residents, four more than the current facility.
For residents' safety and confidentiality, the site's location is not made public.
“It should be completed by the end of August,” she said. “We may be moving in in September.”
The slab has been poured, the framework completed and the trusses set, she said. Throughout construction, she said, community and staff support has been “amazing.”
“We have a very good staff at the shelter, with very caring attitudes,” she said. “And that's very important.”
Faith Haven is a non-profit agency that provides temporary emergency shelter/diagnostic and evaluation for children ages birth to 18 years who are threatened with neglect, abuse, exploitation, who are abandoned or have run away. All residents are in DHS custody.