Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Aiding Those with Nowhere Else to Turn

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Aiding Those with Nowhere Else to Turn

Article excerpt

Linda Kehres has a passion for helping people who have nowhere else to turn.

Though she took on the role of executive director at Let's Help just over two years ago, she has worked in nonprofits for about 10 years. Even before that, while working for corporations like Capitol Federal and Security Benefit, Kehres was a board member and volunteer for nonprofits.

"I just really believe in helping nonprofits," she said. "They never have the time or the money that they need to hire the right amount of people, so volunteers are critical."

She loves advocating on behalf of people who are facing adversity, she said, and many of her efforts have focused on agencies that represent the working poor, the homeless and at-risk children.

Kehres, a member of the Topeka/Shawnee County Homeless Task Force, will be honored Sept. 20 as a "rising star" at GO Topeka's Women of Influence Awards. The award recognizes an up-and-coming executive or business owner with less than five years at a company who shows strong leadership skills and whose actions affect the community.

Before joining Let's Help, Kehres worked for about a year as associate director of programs at Communities in Schools, overseeing its financial literacy program and training department. But from the first time she served in a soup kitchen 16 years ago at Let's Help, she said, she knew she had a passion for helping the homeless. She began volunteering with Topeka and Kansas City agencies that worked with the homeless.

Kehres' passion evidently shone through when a mutual friend introduced her to former Let's Help director Shelly Lowery, because a year later, when Lowery was seeking a replacement, she recalled Kehres as a perfect fit for the job.

Kehres grew up on a farm near Olpe, a small town south of Emporia. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's in business. She is six hours away from completing a doctorate in theology from Holos University, an online graduate seminary. …

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