Meet the Women Who Shaped KenCrest’s History


Sister Maria Roeck and Sister Grace Jones made wonderful contributions to KenCrest’s history and we celebrate them this Women’s History Month. 

We all appreciate remembrance days and months. They challenge us to be better informed, make us grateful to the people who got us this far, and often make us more determined to carry on their work. We just finished Black History Month, and now, Women’s History Month in March. KenCrest has some excellent contributions from women in our history.

Sister Maria Roeck

Here are the stories of two women who helped shape who KenCrest is:

Sister Maria Roeck

In 1905, Sister Roeck served her family first before she sought a new purpose. She found this purpose in the Kensington community, which was struggling with tuberculosis, an incurable disease at this time. She persevered, gathering donors and volunteers to meet the needs of the people who were ill and their families. She was one of the early pioneers in our region of the country and one of the earliest women to lead a nonprofit organization. A woman leader 110 years ago was rare indeed!

Sister Grace Jones

Sister Grace knew that strengthening our community was not over when tuberculosis was cured, and she led us to a new purpose. She, too, spoke out, reminding the leaders of her time that education and support were an obligation, not an option. She, too, was a pioneer in our region of education and opportunity for people with special needs and helped KenCrest to begin providing services to these people in the 1950s.
Who are the influential women in your circle?

Sister Grace Jones
Sister Grace Jones

All women make someone’s history, whether they are someone who loved us and helped raise us or someone we served.

As the Agency navigates KenCrest’s history and the history of women’s leadership, we know that our work toward inclusion is not finished. While, as a society, we have passed laws regarding equal rights, we see evidence of injustice every day.

Our greatest goal is to lead the community forward by inspiring and challenging everyone to do what’s plausible — ensuring full participation for people with disabilities in our society. Our part in that goal as KenCrest is to advocate for the inclusion of the people we support and help to strengthen the neighborhoods where they reside.

What’s your greatest goal at KenCrest? What do you imagine will be needed to push forward on inclusion?