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A volunteer with a mission

Piper Laurie, an academy-award nominated actress popular in the 1960s and ‘70s, captivated Hollywood with her haunting portrayal of complicated characters. Turns out Neighborhood House has its own shining star of the same name, albeit spelled differently.

Piperlorie Keith, who spends many hours at Neighborhood House Rainier Vista, volunteering mainly at the reception desk, was named after the actress, but the commonality ends there. Our Piperlorie, familiar to Rainier Vista clients and visitors, has been a Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) resident for more than 20 years. And she has spent nearly that much time as a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor (CDC), a job she dearly misses and a field she’s eager to jump back into.

The 55-year-old recently went back to school to update her CDC credentials, now called a CDP, or Chemical Dependency Professional, and has made plans to return to college to earn a master’s degree in Social Work. Her exposure to so many different cultures and languages represented through the clients that Neighborhood House serves has also prompted her to want to learn a new language, possibly a dialect spoken in Africa.

“I had been planning to go into case management but it’s like belonging to a gang, you just can’t get out of it,” she says. “But I believe the Lord meant me to be a counselor and that it’s my calling.”

When she’s not helping answer questions at Rainier Vista’s reception desk, Piperlorie also volunteers at the Central Area Senior Center, where she performs administrative tasks.

So, why all of the volunteer work?

Says Keith, “It keeps me busy, makes me feel like a productive member of society, helps me get reconnected with others, and I just enjoy meeting people.”

When she’s not volunteering, the Seattle native enjoys roller-skating and is very involved with her church.

“But Neighborhood House is my baby, it’s my love,” she says. “It makes a big impact and has so many programs that help a variety of people. “

Our Piperlorie could easily be nominated for her award-winning volunteerism!