Our Team

The Merryman House Domestic Violence Center was founded in 1978 as Women Aware, Inc. The agency is named for our founder, Merryman Kemp.  Since its inception, Merryman House has extended its arms to serve victims of domestic violence. Each year, over 1,000 women, men, and children seek refuge, comfort and healing through our 24-hour crisis line, emergency shelter, the outreach offices and comprehensive programs. A staff of 50 individuals is dedicated to helping these survivors to escape violence, find safety and move forward with their lives. For almost 40 years, Merryman House has worked to Save, Build and change lives through our Core Values of Advocacy, Empowerment and Transformation through Compassion, Dignity and Courage.

“There is reward in life for goodness. Goodness makes the world a better place. We are appreciative of every donation we receive from our community, but we are also very blessed by the positive changes we continue to see in our community’s perspective of domestic violence. Acts of kindness and goodness have a ripple effect, like throwing a pebble in a pond. You may never know the impact one simple act of kindness can have in making our world a better place.”


Merryman Kemp

Founder, Merryman House

Our Leadership Team

Mary E. Foley, PsyD

Executive Director

“Why?” is such a powerful question. It forces us to stop and reflect. It provides us a chance to explain our position or, in this case, our purpose and intent behind something. I have chosen to serve victims of crime for the duration of my career because I am one. 

Amy Abernathy

Director of Operations

Working at Merryman House is more than just a job. At the core of everything we do is Saving, Building and Changing lives. Knowing victims of domestic violence depend on me – to show up and do what’s asked of me – so they can be safe, is my “why.”

Colette Buford

Director of Finance

I choose to work at the Merryman House because I believe in helping others. Although I do not usually interact with our clients, I know that by managing our budgets and funding, I enable my coworkers to perform the work they were meant to do: Save, Build, and Change the lives of those affected by domestic violence.

Maressa Young-White

Director of Non-Residential Services 

I invest each day into Saving, Building and Changing lives to instill hope to victims: Hope to those who are in pain who feel they have lost their way. I offer hope with messages such as, “You are valued, you are safe, you are understood. 

Faith Rutland

Director of Crisis Response

I have chosen and continue to choose to invest my time and skills into the Merryman House and the population we serve because of my personal experiences. Due to this, I am able to relate to our clients, so I want to ensure they have access to the resources and services they need to Save, Build, and Change their lives.

Brooke R. Jacobs, PsyD

Director of Client Services

The Merryman House provides me a platform to serve our community in its time of need. I am overwhelmed by the opportunity individuals give me to assist in their time of need. I am blessed to spend my work days Saving, Building, and Changing lives.

Brianna Weitlauf

Director of  Grants & Compliance

I invest in the Merryman House’s mission of Saving, Building and Changing Lives because I have witnessed the devastating effects of domestic violence in the lives of those close to me. 

Kayla MacAllister

Director of Community Engagement

If you have the opportunity to make your job doing work that matters, take the opportunity. The people I am surrounded by at the Merryman House are clearly working not for money or self- interest, but for the good and the safety of our clients, and it is apparent every minute of every day. 

Stephanie Hook

Director of Housing

I work at The Merryman House because I have someone very close to me that is a survivor of domestic violence. I have witnessed firsthand the effects of domestic violence on individuals. I invest each day in Saving, Building and Changing lives because EVERYONE deserves a life free from domestic violence.

Angela Kirby

Support Services Coordinator

Tishaunda Higgerson

Program Coordinator

I’ve always known I wanted to “help people,” but to be more specific, help those who can’t help themselves. So, my why is easy… the children. 

Theresa Hayden

Executive Assistant

I was introduced to the mission of the Merryman House by working on some of their fundraising events.

Marsha Millay

Nutrition Program Coordinator

I enjoy helping others using gifts that I feel God gives me on a daily basis. I play a small but important part of the process of Saving, Building and Changing the lives of our clients. 

Tina Hollowell

Facilities Maintenance Coordinator

I came to the Merryman House because I had a desire to make a difference in the lives of families that had been through the trauma and hopelessness of domestic violence. 

Jayna Burkey

Resiliency Center Coordinator

When I was asked about this position at the Marshall County Resiliency Center, something in my heart stirred. 

Kayla Franklin

Crisis Response Coordinator

I work at the Merryman House because that means being able to support survivors of domestic violence. 

Contact Us

Whether you are a survivor in need of support or a donor looking to join our mission, there is a place for you here!

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The Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center provides services free of charge to survivors of domestic violence and their dependents without regard to race, color, national origin, ethnic origin, religion, creed, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, uniformed services, political belief, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy or other health status, social or economic status, non-violent criminal history, citizenship, immigration status, marital status, or language spoken.


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