There are days when Candice Keller finds it hard to hold back the tears.
They’re called weekdays.
Keller, who is in her third year serving as executive director for Middletown’s Community Pregnancy Center, said the emotional impact of her job has not lessened over time. Dealing directly with pregnant teens who are quickly seeing their youth slipping through their fingertips is every bit as heart-wrenching as her first day on the job.
“We had a 12-year-old come in last year to get a pregnancy test after her mother found out she was sexually active,” Keller said. “My house growing up was like ‘Leave it to Beaver,’ so it’s absolutely mind-boggling to see something like that.”
Keller was serving as a paralegal with a prestigious law firm in West Chester Twp., when she saw an opportunity to take a leadership role at the Community Pregnancy Center, one of many places she volunteered. The move meant taking a substantial cut in pay, but Keller said her work is so meaningful that the money does not matter.
Between offering pregnancy tests to sexually-active women, counseling clients who are experiencing post-abortion problems and handing out diapers, clothing and baby formula to struggling mothers, Keller wears many different hats in a single week at the center.
Close friend and Butler County Treasurer Nancy Nix said Keller has truly made it her mission to make Middletown a better place for future generations.
“She has some truly big passions and is not afraid to get behind them with blood, sweat and tears,” Nix said.
Through getting to know people from just about every walk of life in the region, Keller said she has quickly realized there are many more people looking to help out their fellow man than she ever suspected.
“I’ve found the Middletown community to be incredibly giving and caring when they realize there’s a need,” she said. “I love it when people go out of their way to give back.”
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