Safe Passage Names New Executive Director

Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 8:25 AM

By Safe Passage, Inc., news release

The position came open following the retirement of Jane Yorn earlier this year.

Cari Kettman. Photo provided.

(Batesville, Ind.) - The Safe Passage Board of Directors unanimously voted for Cari Kettman to be the next Executive Director of Safe Passage. Kettman replaces Jane Yorn who announced earlier this year her intent to retire after leading the nonprofit for 11 years. Yorn is also a founder of the organization, established in 1997.

Matt Wessel, board president, said, “As a Board of Directors, we have no greater responsibility than to select the next leader of Safe Passage. This is a charge that we take very seriously and earlier this year we established a formal Search Committee and engaged the services of an outside search firm to help us with this process.” After an expansive internal and external search the board agreed in April on Kettman as the new Executive Director.

Kettman’s involvement with Safe Passage dates back many years, first as a Shelter Support Specialist and Advocate, then as a board member, to her current position for the past 3 years as Director of Community-Based Services reporting directly to Yorn as a member of her leadership team. Kettman is completing a master’s degree in social work and has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Aside from social work, she has also has worked with county and city government in-between her positions with Safe Passage. Kettman has 4 children and lives in Milan. “The mission of Safe Passage is so important and one of great honor to fulfill, especially in a six-county region filled with caring community members and supportive collaborative partnerships. I am humbled and excited to passionately continue walking alongside our resilient survivors, top-notch staff, and dedicated board in this new role to ensure that help, hope, and healing is possible for everyone impacted by domestic and sexual violence.“

Kettman worked with Yorn during the past month on transitioning the leadership of the agency and assumed the title of Executive Director June 1. Yorn will remain engaged with the agency on a part-time basis ensuring transition success through September.

“We realize a change of leadership can bring both excitement and uncertainty, and we are confident that Jane is leaving the agency in a position of strength. As we celebrate Safe Passage’s 25th anniversary this year, we are hopeful that this next chapter will involve the community’s continued support and engagement which has been essential in helping us fulfill Safe Passage’s mission each and every day,” Wessel said. Proclamations and a campaign celebrating the organization’s 25 years of service will be made later this summer.

About Safe Passage Safe Passage is a 501c3 organization that serves Ripley, Franklin, Ohio, Dearborn, Switzerland and Jefferson Counties with a mission to provide help, healing and hope to build a community free of domestic and sexual violence. Through extensive services and support to victims and innovative community based programming, Safe Passage strives to build safe, stable nurturing relationships and communities.

The 30-bed shelter is located in Batesville, with several satellite offices throughout the district. On average, the organization serves 1300 victims and their children annually through the toll-free helpline, the shelter and nonresidential programming. All services are free and confidential. Prevention is a component of the mission, and asset building and healthy relationship programming to stop the violence before it starts are both offered throughout schools in the district.

The organization is funded by state and federal grants, but also through private donations, local government and grants, and fundraisers. The major sponsors this year include: Hillenbrand/ Batesville, Margaret Mary Health, William A. and Martha H. Hillenbrand Foundation, Maxwell Construction and John A. Hillenbrand Foundation.

Save the date:

Thursday, Aug. 11, Handbags 4 Hope purse auction at RomWeber Party Place, 5-8 p.m. $15 ticket Aug. 2022: 25 year anniversary celebration campaign launched Oct: Domestic Violence Awareness Month Dec. 3: We Help. We Heal. We Hope brunch fundraiser at Walhill Farm. For more information, go to, call or text 877-733-1990.

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