Kelly Leitch’s upstairs office is simple and neatly furnished. The walls are sparsely decorated with wall hangings designed to encourage and inspire. One reads, “When life gives you more than you can stand, kneel”. Another declares “Life is an amazing adventure”. Yet another message—posted on a cork board and etched in chalkboard font reads: “Hard work is a two-way street. You get back exactly what you put in.”
These are all words Kelly lives by. She wants the children she cares for to do the same. As the new Independent Living Skills Coach for Miracle Hill Boys’ Shelter, Kelly is focusing on creating better connections and relationships in the community to help the young men living at the shelter.
“The biggest part of that is being the educational liaison,” she said. Kelly serves as a contact person for the schools and the South Carolina Department of Social Services. “I’m more of being that point person between teachers and counselors…making sure if there’s an issue, I’m there and helping to alleviate stress,” she said, adding that knowing and understanding the child’s history helps to resolve problems he might be having at school.
Kelly wears many hats — she’s a coordinator, an administrator, mother figure, cheerleader and staunch advocate for the children’s overall well-being. “What I would do for my own children is what I am going to do for these boys,” she said. “I told them, ‘You are my family’.” Many of the young men living at the shelter have experienced or been exposed to homelessness, domestic violence, physical abuse, and drug-addiction. The shelter provides them needed support, stability and a safer, loving environment. The boys range in age from 11 to 18 years old.
Kelly has a Bachelors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and is steadily finding her way in her new full-time role. She knows it won’t be easy, but when it comes to protecting and nurturing future generations, it’s always well worth the effort. Helping others has always been both her passion and calling. At one point in her life, she was a single, struggling mother of four. “You can never say it will never be me,” she remembers. Through God’s grace and mercy, Kelly overcame past tribulations and is now a thriving mom of six through a blended family. Her experiences grew her passion to help others.
While living up North, Kelly started a clothing closet for underprivileged individuals. Later, she moved to Raleigh, NC where she worked for an after-school program and directed a childcare center at Hope Community Church. She also had the privilege of fostering and adopting a child. “It’s so important to have Jesus Christ as the center of your life,” Kelly says. She feels blessed to have the job at the Boys’ Shelter. “This is so much bigger than just one good deed. A lot of people are involved. There is a community behind this ministry, and it’s very humbling to be part of this team.”