Living on Greek Row through the eyes of a house mom

A sign hangs in the entryway of Kappa Kappa Gamma’s living room. It reads “Nothing sweeter than a week of our Neeter” in bright, bold marker.

Twenty-five years ago, a similar sign that read “Dear Miss Neet, we think you are pretty neat” hung when European native Mina Neet officially replaced the sorority’s former house mom.

Last Sunday, Kappa Kappa Gamma celebrated Neet’s story.

Neet earned her nursery and nursing degree in Great Britain before working full-time as a children’s governess. Her degree allows her to teach preschool and kindergarten-age children, work in orphanages and nurse, among other things.

She traveled and lived in many different countries, including Singapore, Indonesia, Libya and Spain.

Neet met a U.S. native in Singapore and they married shortly thereafter. Neet’s husband went on to work in Nigeria while she worked in Spain.

The couple moved to Wyoming and then Alaska, until Neet’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer.

Neet decided to move to Oakesdale, Washington, in order to care for her mother-in-law. She lived there for 14 months while her husband remained in Alaska. During this time, Neet and her husband split.

Neet was shown an advertisement for an available house mom position in the Spokesman-Review. She had no idea what a sorority was, since there were no sororities in Scotland where she grew up.

Taylor Lange, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s president, said that Neet was beyond grateful for receiving the position.

Last Thanksgiving, Neet and Kappa Kappa Gamma’s members sat around a table and said what they were thankful for.

Neet opened up about her life before and after becoming their house mom.

She said that 25 years ago she was in the worst place she had ever been, but that the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma changed her life.

These women are the reason she wakes up every morning, Lange said.

Seven days a week, Neet does whatever she can to make the lives of the Kappa Kappa Gamma women comfortable.

She knows what apples the women like to eat, what kind of yogurt not to buy, how messy—or clean—some of them can be, what boys they do—and don’t—like, and what’s going on inside of their heads.

“We laugh together and we cry together,” Neet said. “I’m a shoulder for them. This is a home away from home.”

Neet has witnessed the chapter women overcome struggles such as anorexia and bulimia, difficult leadership positions and complicated relationships.

Women have entered and left the halls of Kappa Kappa Gamma’s house, but no one forgets her.

Kaitlin Richardson, a sophomore member of the sorority, said that alumni return and are embraced by Neet with open arms. Neet doesn’t forget them either, Richardson said.

Neet has taken it upon herself to maintain relationships in and outside of the house.

“People don’t realize how lucky we are to have her as a mother figure,” Richardson said. “It’s great to know she will remember who I am.”

Neet doesn’t show any signs of retiring as Kappa Kappa Gamma’s house mom. She still has quite a bit of time left with the sorority, and said she looks forward to watching the Greek community grow.

Women like Lange and Richardson hold on to the little things Neet provides for them in their daily life.

When Neet isn’t in the house, members feel it.

Taylor Graham, former public relations chair for Kappa Kappa Gamma, said she noticed this shortly after winter break.

When Neet was absent for a week after the semester started, Graham felt the void. Many did. Neet secures a unique and genuine relationship with all of her girls.

“She has different relationships with everyone,” Graham said. “But she gives the same love.”

When Lange was sick and in bed, Neet raced up the tall stair case in Kappa Kappa Gamma to Lange’s blue sleeping porch simply to make sure Lange was feeling okay and hydrated well.

When Graham was concerned about which new member would become her little sister, Neet offered to be her little instead.

When Richardson needed someone to talk to about a problem, she knew that Neet would listen and that their conversations were safe.

“There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe her,” Richardson said. “She is so appreciative. She just needs your love.”

Today, Neet still holds on to that first banner that hung in the living room 25 years ago.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my job,” Neet said. “I’m not leaving yet.”