Girls happily reading their books - at Orchard Place Des Moines

CEO Anne Starr's April 10 Update to Employees

CEO Email Update

null Pictured L to R:  Bill Ketch, Anne Starr, John Mauro, Neil Broderick, John Parmeter - May 10, 2017 


Dear All, 

Today’s encouragement is a story about someone who believed OP could and would change the world, one child, at a time.   

Bill Ketch, an OP Board member since 1999, retired DHS social worker and longtime mentor/volunteer in the OP residential program, passed away at his home on February 26th of this year. He was 85.  

Bill rarely missed a board meeting, committee meeting, or volunteer opportunity. He was fully committed to the mission and always worried about children “falling between the cracks” of the inadequate systems of care for Iowa kids. He was adamant about our role to be the safety net for children. It was Bill who introduced OP school-based therapy to the Des Moines Catholic elementary schools. He was a firm believer in school-based services as an essential way to reach youth who would not otherwise be able to access services. Likewise, he was a huge supporter of home and community-based services. Bill worked within the Indianola community to bring OP services to Warren County youth.  

Bill repeatedly held up the Sanctuary Model implementation as an important cornerstone to our work. Safety for staff and kids. He got it.  

On the morning of his death, Bill and I spoke on the phone. He was calling to let me know that the meeting he set up with the new Bishop of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese was all set for two days later. Bill wanted the Diocese to embrace the “Make It Okay “ campaign. He believed the Diocese could influence the church community with this anti-stigma message. Unfortunately, Bill did not live to attend the meeting.  

Bill’s sense of urgency about our work would not let him dwell on the good already done. He’d want us all to get some rest and do it all again tomorrow. If you’re going to change the world, you have to “keep at it.”    

I’m grateful for Bill and for his spirit, faith, and being a voice for children.  I’m grateful for all of you for keeping at it, for being that safety net for kids who might otherwise fall between the cracks, especially now. 

Sanctuary on! Anne  


Campus specific update: 

· Beginning Monday, the campus will discontinue all visits between children and family other than via phone or videoconference. While this is a difficult decision, it is aligned with what we are learning about the spread of the COVID virus. Communication has gone out to all PMIC families.