ST. LOUIS — Annie Malone has been spreading love since 1888. Now a new interim CEO is excited to make her mark on the organization and St. Louis.
“This role is a privilege and honor,” Keisha Lee said. “I still have to pinch myself sometimes because I grew up watching the Annie Malone parade.”
She has a corporate background but embraces her new role at Annie Malone because she feels she’s making a true impact.
“When you think about it, it takes a village to raise a child,” Lee said.
Now she’s the woman in charge tasked with turning around some of St. Louis’s most challenged communities.
With a new face comes new ideas. Chairman of the Board Gary Hickman believes the organizational restructure will help families further.
“We want her to focus on community engagement, great program development programing,” Hickman said.
The focus is still on children, but Lee said long-term success comes from wrap-around services that benefit the entire family.
“We get calls saying, hey I've fallen on hard times my kids may have to come stay with you for a little bit,” Lee said.
There’s a new SAFER anti-drug program for teens.
“Whatever you are coping with or dealing with, there's different ways to cope besides turning to a drug,” the Interim CEO said.
Annie Malone touches up to 500 families a year. But they are still hungry to help those in need. Lee also wants to get more neighborhood leaders involved with the core work of the non-profit.
“When you give back to a community and come back and show I was once in your shoes,” Lee said. “And here I am right now. It gives people that hope. “Like we tell the kids your right now isn't forever. This doesn't' define you, it makes you stronger.”
Lee and Hickman are both looking forward to the annual parade in May. They plan to roll out the new, energized Annie Malone to the community. In the meantime, leaders are looking for any ways you can help.