Pathfinder Ann Perkins: Making a difference for women in our community for 25+ years at Safe Harbor | ACTC

Pathfinder Ann Perkins: Making a difference for women in our community for 25+ years at Safe Harbor

Published on Mar 12, 2024

“ACTC helps families get to where they want to be,” said Ann Perkins, ACTC Pathfinder and Executive Director of Safe Harbor of Northeast KY. “They did it for my family, and they’re continuing to do so every day.” 

As a part of four generations that have attended Ashland Community and Technical College, Ann Perkins knows what it’s like to start your path at ACTC. She is a second generation ACTC student herself, who attended classes while balancing her work schedule. Her father took classes at ACC at night so he could run their family’s business during the day. 

Perkins took pre-requisite classes at ACTC for a year before going on to transfer to the University of Kentucky to obtain her teaching degree. Her son attended ACTC and transferred to UK as well, and her grandson will be starting at ACTC in the fall. Perkins now serves on the Board of Directors at ACTC.

“Dr. Goodpastor, who was the college president at the time, wrote my letter of recommendation for my first job. ACTC was what kept me in school. My dad was sick when I was a student, and there were so many times that I wanted to quit,” Perkins recalled. “But ACTC was that family unit for us. Everyone knew everyone, and everyone there wants you to succeed.”

Perkins' post-grad career started off in 1976 with the Wilderness Road Girl Scout Council, where she worked as a Field Director, responsible for organizing Girl Scout troops for seven counties as well as overseeing trainings, recruitment of volunteers, and cookie sales.

From there, she moved on to work with YWCA of Ashland. From 1986 to 1996, Perkins served as the Executive Director, responsible for management and development of programming for the YWCA. Over the years, she oversaw the development of five pre-school/after school programs and the first teen pregnancy prevention program for schools in Easten Kentucky.  

“I had great training for how to work with women. From ACTC, to Girl Scouts, to YWCA.” She noted. 

After ten years with YWCA, she took a position as an insurance account executive. Shortly after, Safe Harbor called looking to welcome Perkins onto their founding board. 

Safe Harbor is an emergency shelter and advocacy center that provides confidential, caring and supportive services to all domestic violence victims in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Lawrence, and Elliot counties. Safe Harbor has as many as 150 women and children pass through each year.

Through the use of resources, education, counseling and advocacy, Safe Harbor provides a safe place for individuals to consider the impact domestic violence is having upon them and their family. Safe Harbor’s services are free to all victims of domestic violence. They are dedicated to their mission of eliminating domestic violence through prevention, education, and intervention. 

Perkins joined the board in 1998, opening the door for her to continue to make a difference in the lives of women in our community. She stepped into a position as the interim Executive Director of Safe Harbor and has been in the position ever since. 

Under Perkins’ direction, Safe Harbor has been able to complete over $7.5 million in capital renovations on the buildings now occupied by Safe Harbor. Perkins has worked to create a three tier continuum of care programs providing emergency, transitional and thirty-four section 8 project based apartments with a collaboration with the city of Ashland. An art studio and animal shelter for client’s dogs and cats has also been established on site. Safe Harbor also has onsite counseling through Mountain Comp Care. These services are available for clients free of charge. 

“It’s been a labor of love,” she commented about her job over the last twenty-five years. “I don’t walk away from something that needs to be done, and there are lots of things that needs to be done within this role. I have loved every minute of it. The most important thing is having a job you love and feeling like you’re making a difference in the world.” 

As Executive Director of Safe Harbor, Perkins witnesses many stories of women that come through the doors. She recalled one touching story of a young woman who came all the way from Texas. She got involved with Safe Harbor, enrolled in Ashland Community & Technical College, became a nurse, and has been working as one for twenty-five years now.  Safe Harbor has been able to send many women to ACTC for a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a higher education. 

“That’s why I have the best job in the world,” Perkins concluded. “Everybody needs someone who gives them an opportunity and pushes them down the road. That’s what we get to do every day at Safe Harbor.”