Mineral Wells Index
By Pam Holt
Children’s Alliance Center for Palo Pinto County board member
Everybody seems to know Libby Cluett.
She was usually seen with a camera around her neck and a pen in one hand and a pad in the other as she gathered stories about the county and area people, places and events to reveal to the public.
On Nov. 13, Libby ended her almost seven-year career of editing, writing, reporting and photographing for the Mineral Wells Index to accept the call to serve as the executive director for the Children’s Alliance Center for Palo Pinto County, (CACPPC), a new non-profit organization serving Palo Pinto County.
In the days and weeks ahead, she will be working with the CACPPC’s board and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas Inc. to create a child-friendly center for Palo Pinto County’s victims of child abuse.
In one safe place, Libby will coordinate the work of prosecutors, police, child protective service workers, medical personnel and mental-health counselors as they secure necessary information from and for abused children, and hopefully help children and families move toward a place of healing and wholeness.
Libby Cluett comes to this position with excitement and experience.
The first gift she brings to the center is – she knows everyone. Among the many, she has interviewed attorneys, police officers, medical personnel, child protective workers and mental-health counselors.
The second gift she brings is – she is an excellent listener. A third – she is a superb writer. She also brings gifts of coordinating many volunteers and writing a number of grants, many of which she developed when she worked for the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
She also brings the gift of teaching, especially in early-childhood education, high school language arts and with museum audiences of all ages.
A native of Houston, Libby graduated with honors from Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., where she earned a Bachelor of Arts’ degree in Studio Art, and took many Humanities courses.
Between undergraduate and graduate studies, Libby returned to Houston, where she taught at a preschool and developed and taught after-school art programs for children.
She also volunteered with children’s programs in several Houston non-profit organizations, which included guiding school tours at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Contemporary Arts Museum.
It was while attending the University of Houston, for post-baccalaureate studies in painting and art history, that she worked as an intern at UH’s Blaffer Gallery.
There, she helped edit copy, develop children’s programs and learned of museum education – a way of educating children and adults in the museum setting.
She achieved a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, focusing on museum education, from the George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.
Libby inched her way closer to Palo Pinto County, working in museums in San Antonio and Fort Worth for over 15 years, before taking a job at the Mineral Wells Index, where she worked as reporter-photographer and, most recently, news editor.
When not writing, reading or researching, Libby captures remarkable photos of people, animals and places. In her spare time, and for renewal of her own soul, she is tending to and riding horses.
The CACPPC’s board of directors is delighted and honored to call Libby Cluett to be its executive director.
“It is an honor to be selected by the Children’s Alliance Center board to serve citizens in Palo Pinto County,” Cluett stated. “I learned so much about the community through my work at the newspaper and am ready to take on a role that allows me to use all of my background experience and work more directly to improve the lives of the county’s children.”
With one refreshing day off – from her Nov. 13 end date at the Index – she started working for the CACPPC on Nov. 15.
“The board has come a long way with the center and the facility, but there is so much work ahead to prepare the center for a March opening,” she said.
“When it opens, the initial role of the center will be facilitating a multidisciplinary team, which includes law enforcement, Children’s Protective Services staff and the Palo Pinto County District Attorney’s staff,” added Cluett. “This team will undergo training in late January and will work together, conducting forensic interviews with child victims and case reviews at the center, as well as aiding victims and their families.”
The Children’s Alliance Center for Palo Pinto County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which is dedicated to “uniting collective efforts to prevent child abuse, reduce trauma of abuse and protect our children, while restoring the families of our community,” according to its mission. For more information, to help or contribute, visit the center’s website, cacpalopinto.org, or email email@example.com.
Pam Holt is a board member of the Children’s Alliance Center for Palo Pinto County and senior pastor at First Christian Church in Mineral Wells.