The board of directors of South Peninsula Haven House announced Peg Coleman is resigning from the position of executive director in order to take a position in Salt Lake City.
Though she loves Homer, Coleman said being in the states will help her be closer to family who live on the East Coast.
Jessica Lawmaster, the child advocacy coordinator, will act as interim director.
The time was right both professionally and personally to pass on the reigns, she said. Haven House programs are considered programs of excellence and the Homer community is strong on collaborations. Despite the economy, Haven House is on solid financial ground.
“Presiding over Haven House has been challenging, exciting and at times heartbreakingly difficult,” Coleman said. “But, throughout my tenure in Homer, the commitment and passion of my co-workers and the support and compassion of a wonderful community have sustained me. I consider my time at Haven House to have been a privilege and an honor.”
Before joining Haven House in 2003, Coleman served as associate director of Family Crisis Services in Portland, Maine. She has an extensive background in working with persons suffering from substance abuse as well as working with people with mental illness. She also once served on her town’s city council and as mayor of Dennis Township in New Jersey in the early 1990s.
“I think my eclectic background allowed me to create programs at Haven House that were open to all people. Instead of screening people out based on diagnosis or other subjective criteria, Haven House programs embrace a trauma-informed perspective, believing all people have the right to safety.”
Coleman joined Haven House as executive director at a critical time. She added stability and vision to a struggling organization. Her concern for children who experience emotional trauma resulted in the development of The Kenai Child Advocacy Centers in Homer, Seward and Kenai.
“One of my greatest joys has been the opportunity to mentor and support an amazing staff. It is time to step away and put Haven House in their very capable hands,” she said.
During the transition, Coleman will serve in an advisory capacity. “My last formal task as executive director will be to preside over the Women of Distinction Awards March 23. I am delighted to end my tenure celebrating the contributions of people who demonstrate compassion and commitment to community.”
Honoring distinguished community women was a program developed by Coleman. The dinner-fundraiser is 6:30 p.m. Friday at Land’s End Resort.
When Coleman leaves Alaska, she takes a position heading up the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition in Salt Lake. This will involve more policy, public relations and inter-governmental work for all the stakeholders involved in domestic violence.
After nine years in Homer, Coleman said it will be hard to leave. “I love Homer. I’ve had incredible friendships here, lifelong friends who will remain lifelong friends. The community was very supportive,” she said. “But it is time to be closer to family.”
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