Hearts of Yolo: Katherine Hess

Thursday, Mar 15, 2018

Katherine Hess learned about Yolo County CASA in her Soroptimist club. “We had donated to Yolo County CASA’s programs and one of my fellow Soroptimists was also a CASA volunteer. I was moved by the mission and vision of the organization.”

Katherine Hess works in planning for the City of Davis. She is starting to “ease into thinking” about retirement but did not want to wait to become a CASA volunteer. “As I thought it through, I decided it was something that I could fit into my schedule now, despite having a full-time job.” Katherine also inspired her husband, John Hess, to become a CASA volunteer with her. Katherine states, “At first I was concerned about confidentiality requirements because I didn’t want to have an aspect of my life that I could not discuss with my husband. But the staff at Yolo County CASA solved that by allowing us to advocate for a sibling pair.”

Katherine has had her CASA child, a five-year-old girl, for about a little over six months. “We like to play outside, read books, and find animals. We’ve also started doing some talking about what she wants and what she thinks is good for her. She is very young but nevertheless building self-awareness.”

Katherine and John have done many of their visits together but also focus on building alone time during the visits. “We try to strike a balance of letting them hang out with us together but also carve out specialized one-on-one time during the visits.” Recently, Katherine broke her arm which left her unable to drive for a while. “At that point, I was really glad that John and I were able to do our visits together because I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see her regularly with that physical limitation.”

Recently, when Katherine went to court, she said the judge was interested in her perspective. “The judge takes the CASA volunteer’s opinion very seriously. Going to court makes the experience come full circle. You realize what a close relationship you’ve formed with your CASA child and you truly see how you have the unique ability to represent their voice based on that.”

To those who may be toying with the idea of becoming a CASA volunteer like Katherine was, she highlights both the support that volunteers have and discusses the time commitment in more detail. “The staff at the CASA office is extremely responsive to emails and phone calls. Whenever I’ve reached out to my advocate supervisor, she’s been extremely helpful. I’ve also found the time commitment not to be a barrier. With careful planning, someone who is passionate about helping a child in need can do so. I’m glad I didn’t wait.”

 

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