The Story Behind Mothers Keepers
Sarah Leist, LPC, Director and Founder of Mothers Keepers
Sarah has served Emmet and Charlevoix Counties since she relocated here from the upper peninsula in 2007. After graduating from Lake Superior State University in 2006, she went to the police academy and became a certified police officer. She was a Deputy Sheriff at the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office for nearly five years.
Sarah fell in love with the area and the community. She felt that her passions and talents were taking her in a different direction. Sarah began serving the area as a Children’s Protective Services Specialist from 2012 through 2015. Sarah worked closely with families to help prevent child abuse and support families with children.
Sarah attended Walden University and earned her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling in 2013. She completed internships with Catholic Human Services and Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians Life Services. Sarah is a member of the American Counseling Association and Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society for Counselors.
Sarah is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a mother of four. Sarah, along with her colleagues, founded Mothers Keepers. She has a deep passion for supporting families with newborn babies. While developing Mothers Keepers, she has been taking care of her children, household (and husband) full-time.
Sarah, like many moms, struggled to find a balance after bringing home a baby. It is with sincere hope that through Mothers Keepers, Sarah can support local mothers navigate the struggles that families with newborns face the first year. She has experienced first hand how much a little support and extra hands can do.
Sarah brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience with pregnancy, birth, and postpartum issues. She has compiled a database of research to help parents make informed decisions regarding the care of their baby. She is dedicated to empowering families with knowledge, because sometimes just knowing you are doing the right thing for your family, makes a world of difference.
Erin Barnes, Co-founder
Erin is honored to serve Mothers Keepers as a founding member. She knows first hand the challenges that face a new mother with family living far away. She has had the privilege of staying home with her four year old daughter.
Prior to motherhood, Erin graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She worked as a restaurant manager until meeting her husband and moved into an accounts receivable roll until their daughter was born.
Erin has a passion for a mothers heart and believes it is imperative for moms of little ones to get a break to take care of themselves. Erin brings with her the experiences of infertility and pregnancy loss. Her life experiences have fueled her passion for supporting mothers with newborns to show that they are not alone.
Erin is an extremely caring and gentle woman. She is supportive and understanding and nonjudgmental. Mothers Keepers is excited to share her compassion and guidance with the families we serve.
Alisha was born and raised in Northern Michigan and decided to raise her family here after studying Psychology at Grand Valley State University and graduating in 2004 with a Bachelor Degree. She worked for Lutheran Child and Family Service in the Families First Program and later the Family Group Decision Making program. Each of those programs served families in need and many who needed support and direction in life in order to maintain the family unit.
Alisha then went on to complete a Masters Degree in Social Work from Grand Valley State University out of Traverse City and graduated in 2011. Upon Graduation, Alisha began working for Children’s Protective Services in Charlevoix and Emmet County where she met Sarah Leist. During this time we recognized the extreme need for a supportive and affordable program that supported families without income guidelines.
Alisha is a mother of four little girls. She has experienced the reality of motherhood in a society where expectations for women are so high with very little support. Our village of support has been eroded by the demands of society leaving new mothers without the help of their mothers, grandmothers and other family who typically would have been a huge part of the support system but have other obligations typically because people are working later in life and have more responsibilities outside the home. Families are spread out and we don’t often have the close relationships with neighbors that people used to have.
Alisha currently has her own practice, Alisha Peck, LMSW Journey of Life Counseling, and believes that every mother compares herself to another regardless of how well put together she may be or seem and wonder if she is doing her best. The reality is that we all have moments where we struggle and sometimes it is hard to ask for help.
Alisha aims to help others feel more balanced and well rounded. Her approach to therapy is compassionate, collaborative, and intuitive. Alisha believes that everyone has the capacity for growth, healing and transformation. We have the ability to discover and awaken parts of ourselves that are innate and hidden by struggles in our lives. We have the ability to regain balance and become authentic.
Alisha’s passion is to help other women whether they are new mothers who need a boost of confidence and support, women with perinatal mood disorders, or new families trying to navigate their journey through parenthood. She has experience with eating disorders, personality disorders, and substance abuse disorders in addition to perinatal mood disorders.