Hillary Houston began a new chapter this week in both her professional career and her longstanding work to make life better for people in her adopted home.


Houston has been named the new executive director for Wesley House, an outreach mission established by Pittsburg’s First United Methodist Church in 1982 to serve low-income families and individuals in Southeast Kansas.


Pam Henderson, advisory board chairperson, said in a press release that Houston brings with her a "background that includes strong financial and management skills. Additionally, she has successful grant writing experience and enjoys helping people facing hardships."


Houston, a native of Greenfield, Mo., earned both a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master of business administration degree from Pittsburg State University.


"I came here for college and never really left," Houston said in the release. "I feel like I’m at home."


Part of being at home, for Houston, means working to help those less fortunate. Previously, she worked at Mosaic and New Hope Services and, most recently, the City of Pittsburg.


"I expect to be working with a number of the same or similar clients at Wesley House that I’ve served before," Houston said.


She also knows she’ll be partnering with local agencies with which she is already well acquainted.


Volunteerism and community activity have always been important to Houston, who said she made sure her two adult children grew up being part of that.


"My family is really supportive of my new position here," Houston said.


In 2019, Wesley House served more than 12,000 clients through several programs. As the primary food pantry for Crawford County, Wesley House served more than 7,700 individuals last year. Wesley House has a homeless case manager and offers day sheltering for the homeless. Other Wesley House programs include the winter Kozy Kids winter coat distribution, Commodity Food Senior Program, summer fan distribution, Operation Smile dental program, Rescue Rx prescription program and Identification Support Project.


For more information about Wesley House, visit their Facebook page or their website at www.wesleyhouseumc.org.