Routt County’s human services director embracing new role
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Kelly Keith came to Colorado to ski, but it was her desire to help others that led her to a new role as director of the Routt County Department of Human Services in Steamboat Springs.
“We love the mountain lifestyle,” Keith said. “That was one of the deciding factors. My family wanted to live in a ski area and to have access to skiing. Of course, we love the resorts, but it’s just the lifestyle of the mountain biking or the hiking and just the people you find living in these communities that we really love.”
Keith, who has lived and worked in Chaffee and Summit counties for nearly two decades, has a long track record of working for nonprofits and government agencies. She holds a bachelor’s degree of social work from the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin and masters degrees in management and business administration from the University of Colorado in Denver.
Before moving to Steamboat, she served as program coordinator for Summit County Youth and Family Services, was an adjunct instructor at Colorado Mountain College and was operations manager for Early Childhood Options in Dillon.
“It’s been great to have her here,” Routt County Manager Sullivan said. “Kelly has a lot of energy, and that really relates to the attention that she pays to everything that is going on in that department. She is paying attention to all of the various programs under human services, and she is paying attention to all of them and getting an understanding of what is happening here.”
“I spent several years of my career working for nonprofit and partner agencies, so a high priority for me is to continue that,” Keith said. “I do think there is a difference in what human services and government can do, and what a nonprofit can do. We need to figure out how we can balance that and how we can work together to make sure we are helping everybody in the community.”
She said ski resort communities have many similarities, but she also understands that every community is different with its own unique strengths and challenges.
“I’ve been putting a lot of effort into getting to know this community, supporting my staff, working with people who have been here a long time and know the community much better than I do,” Keith said. “I want to get an understanding of what is going on here and how human services can be a part of that.
“I want people to continue to know that, if you are in need of assistance or if you need something from human services, you should feel comfortable coming in and getting the help you need,” Keith added.
Keith moved to Steamboat with her husband, Chad, and their 5-year-old son Gus.
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