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Emergency Shelter Director Leaving Position, Moves On to NKU Gig

Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky excutive director Rachael Winters is leaving that post and will focus on her new position at Northern Kentucky University. The following is the letter she wrote announcing her departure to supporters of the shelter which is in the process of moving from its Scott Boulevard location to another place in Covington.

Many of you know that I will be departing ESNKY near the end of this month.  Since November of 2008, being part of our mission has not only been the highlight of my professional career as a Social Worker, it’s been one of the most amazing and humbling experiences of my life. 

ESNKY has been life saving and life changing for hundreds and hundreds of people.  That mission has also served me in a similar way.  Prior to the ESNKY opening, I had lost my spark as a Social Worker and was experiencing my own hardships.  Many people didn't know that when we first opened our doors, my own home was being foreclosed.  It was embarrassing to acknowledge past poor decisions and personal failures; however, it gave me a deeper compassion and understanding of the guests who needed our shelter.  I have had the privilege of talking in front of many people in our community over the last seven years and the one message that I always try to share… we are sheltering human beings, like you and me.  ESNKY saved my outlook on life…I had purpose.  

I also began to change and grow as a professional.  The job grew and so did my responsibilities.  I began to do more what we call “macro” level work, such as grant writing, public speaking, event planning, social media, public relations and professional begging.  Most of it I liked and a few pieces I did not, however, all of the activities helped our mission.  I did it and was grateful to expand my skill level.  My “clientele” became donors, volunteers, visitors, and the general public.  Although I was always more at ease working with welcoming guests into our shelter, others began to see me as a leader in our community.  

You might be asking, “So why leave?”  I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to leave while you still love your job instead of waiting until you want to slam the door behind you. This past July, I was offered a full time faculty position at NKU teaching social work and I was excited to share my experience with young people entering the field.

Over the past several months with very little help from me, ESNKY has been fully operational due to a small but dedicated team of people (Josh Klosterman, Laura Whiting, Sheila Nared, Christine Carter, Angel Andino and Trina Phillips). Our staff, as well as our board members, will continue to guide ESNKY in fulfilling its mission of providing life saving and life changing shelter. Thank you to all of you who gave time, talents, supplies, money and support – it was an honor to receive your kindness and to learn from your generosity.  

Sincerely,

Rachael Winters, MSW