Desert Rose Foundation, Inc. is a faith-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide transitional shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as the services needed to break the cycle of abuse in families.
Desert Rose provides a safe environment for women, with or without children. We also provide:
- Emotional support and professional counseling
- Sexual assault advocacy
- Victim advocacy
- Addictions counseling
- Food and emergency clothing
- Support groups
*Please note that Desert Rose Foundation, Inc. is made possible througth Indiana Housing & Community Develpment Authority (IHCDA) HOME grant award, and utilizes client tracking software provided by IHCDA. This software is called Homelss Management Information System (HMIS). The HMIS Statement of Privacy Practices may be found here.
Colleen Flickinger Kliewer
February 2, 1958 - January 6, 2018
Desert Rose is extremely saddened to commemorate the passing of Colleen Flickinger Kliewer on January 6, 2018. Colleen was a founding board member at Desert Rose and proved instrumental in developing and establishing the organization in 2001. Colleen dedicated countless hours to Desert Rose's mission to shelter victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and volunteered many hours working directly with victims in Morgan County. Colleen dedicated her life to helping others, and it is with heavy hearts and soulful prayers that we lift her up to the Lord.
Colleen (Anne) Flickinger Kliewer was born to Ronald and
Rachel (Willems) Kliewer in Reedley, California, on February 2, 1958. She died
in hospice care in Indianapolis, Indiana, on January 6, 2018. When she was
five, Colleen’s family moved to Germany where she remained until she graduated
from high school. During that time, she and her brother attended German schools
and she became fluent in German. At age 17, she returned to the United States
to attend California State University at Fresno, graduating in 1979 with a
degree in agriculture.
Following graduation from college, Colleen volunteered with
the relief organization, Mennonite Central Committee. She lived and worked in a
small village in Northeast Brazil where she learned to speak Portuguese.
Because of her degree in agriculture, she was sent to work on agricultural
projects. She quickly realized, however, that people in this part of Brazil,
which was in one of many periods of drought, needed far more than agricultural
advice and guidance. Although young and alone in this community, she used the
model of base Christian communities as laid out in liberation theology to bring
people of the community together to develop their own plan for a water system.
She tapped into the knowledge and needs of the local community to create long
range goals that would work for them. Her sustainable agriculture degree served
her well, but this experience of working with a community fostered her growing
awareness of the power inherent in community development and advocacy. It also
moved her toward a later degree in social work.
In 1983, following a three-year stint in Brazil, she
returned to the United States with her friend, Marnetta Shetler, who also had
been with MCC in Brazil. They went to Iowa City, Iowa to live with another
friend, Hope Nisly. Colleen was there for several years as she contemplated the
next steps in her life. The three women developed a friendship that was a
source of strength to the end of her life, sisters that she never had.
In 1985, she enrolled in Associated Mennonite Biblical
Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, for a year to discern further direction in her
life. As she studied, it became clear to her that her concern for issues of
social justice, her desire to be involved in women’s lives, and her experiences
in community development were converging into a desire to work with abused
women. Colleen then volunteered in a women’s shelter, an experience that
solidified her desire to get a social work degree.
It was in Elkhart where she met her future husband, Ron
Flickinger. Ron was working on a degree in Peace Studies at AMBS following an
assignment with Mennonite Central Committee in Central America. They were
married in 1987 and remained in Elkhart while Ron completed his degree.
In 1988, upon Ron’s graduation, they moved to Indianapolis
so that Colleen could enroll in the MSW program at IUPUI. When she graduated
two years later, the couple accepted another assignment with Mennonite Central
Committee in Nicaragua where Ron served as the country representative,
overseeing all MCC workers in the country. Colleen went without a specific job
assignment, but quickly created her own job description to work with Nicaraguan
women and their particular issues and traumas in the post-war milieu of the
country. She reached out to women’s organizations in Managua and found her
niche as she, once again, listened and responded to their needs and supported
their goals. In Nicaragua, she became fluent in Spanish.
During Ron and Colleen’s four-year term in Nicaragua, they
adopted their daughter, Teresa, a three-month old infant who had been left at
the hospital by her birth mother. Near the end of their term, their son Martin
was born. In 1994, when Marty was three months old, the family returned to
Back in Indianapolis, it didn’t take long for Colleen to
find work as a counselor at what was then called Family Service Association.
She split her work week between an office in Indianapolis and one in
Martinsville, seeing clients with a variety of issues. But her long-time
interest in women’s issues found an outlet in an emerging women’s shelter in
Martinsville. She became acquainted with a woman who had a vision for a
domestic violence program in this underserved area. Colleen supported this
effort, helped the woman develop the vision, and then volunteered many hours
with incoming clients.
A few years later, Colleen was offered the opportunity to be
one of the only bilingual social workers in the Indianapolis Public Schools
where she worked with immigrant children and their families. She put her
Spanish to good use assisting many students and their families who had limited
English and who needed a compassionate advocate such as herself. As with
everything else in her life, Colleen poured her heart and soul into this
position, which was more than a job to her. It was a calling and a passion that
had manifested itself in every position she ever held. When that position was
phased out, Colleen became an elementary school social worker in an
Indianapolis school with a high percentage of Hispanic children. She held this
position until mid-autumn 2017, a few months prior to her death.
In 2008, Colleen and her family mourned the death of Teresa
who, at age 17, committed suicide. In the wake of this devastating loss,
Colleen forged a close friendship with the recipient of Teresa’s heart.
Colleen had a keen eye and ear for aesthetics and beauty in
sight and sound. She played classical guitar in her younger years. She
translated poetry from German to English. She made videos which she set to
music. And in the last decades of her life she became a fine-arts photographer,
producing exquisite landscape and close-up photos. Her photos of the minute
details of flowers and leaves, are particularly inspiring and beautiful. She
became involved with a photography club, and developed close friendships with
many members of that group.
There are clear themes to Colleen’s life: her passion for
the poor and marginalized people of the world, her faith in people’s ability to
find their own solutions with a little guidance and counseling, and her strong
advocacy for laws and policies that meet human needs and provide avenues for
opportunity. If the phrase “she persisted” fits anyone’s life, it is
particularly appropriate to use it about Colleen’s life.
In addition to the loss of her daughter, Colleen was
preceded in death by her mother, Rachel; and her father, Ron. She is survived
by her husband, Ron; her son, Marty; her brother, Douglas and his wife, Hope;
and a niece and nephew, Barbara and Matthew.
Desert Rose is accepting applications for overnight and weekend positions on our crisis intervention staff! For information on the available position, please click here!
Are you or someone you know fleeing an abusive relationship?
Are you being abused?
Call us at 765-342-ROSE
or toll free at 888-342-ROSE
Looking for affordable housing in Martinsville? Desert Rose provides 10 apartment units locally at Providence Place, located at the intersection of Prospect St. and Colfax St. in Martinsville. If you are interested, please complete an application! Mail, e-mail, or fax your completed application to Desert Rose to be considered for future vacancies. The application is available at this link!