Hearts of Yolo: Kathie Kishaba

Monday, Sep 28, 2020

Hearts of Yolo:  Kathie Kishaba

Kathie Kishaba remembers a jury duty experience from many years ago quite clearly. “A seven-year-old had to testify in the case and it was remarkable that he had the strength to do so, considering what had happened to him. A woman was following him all around the court. She never spoke because she could not testify on his behalf, but she was with him every step of the way. I later learned she was a CASA volunteer and never forgot about the experience.”

A long-time resident of Davis, Kathie has an extremely busy life. Her boys are 16 and 20, and she works full-time for the State of California. As she nears the end of her professional career, she’s started exploring ways to give back to the community she loves. “I went to graduate school at UC Davis and I love living in Yolo County. As my kids enter the next phase of their lives and activities like scouting and sports slow down, it’s been important for me to find other activities with which to give back. I never forgot that initial experience I had in court and I’d been thinking about CASA more and more. When I ran into the Outreach Coordinator at the Honey Festival in Woodland last year, I decided it was time.”

Kathie completed the training and has been advocating for a five-year-old girl. The first time they met, they looked at books together and began to form a connection. During their third meeting, Kathie recalls a breakthrough moment, “We were going through a book and it was one that we always read together. We were sitting together and turning the pages and all of a sudden, she leaned over and hugged me. That was a huge eye opener to me that for a child who has been through trauma, a CASA can create magical moments that should be commonplace for every child.”   

When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, Kathie discusses how she’s managed the challenges, “The pandemic definitely forced our visits to change a bit. We do a lot of FaceTime calls. It’s definitely different than it was but I know it makes a difference. We read lots of books over FaceTime and I know that all of the CASAs are working really hard on maintaining connections in creative ways.”

To anyone considering becoming a CASA volunteer, Kathie reflects on her own experience, “Before signing up to be a CASA volunteer, I was really worried about the time commitment required to be an effective advocate. I was working full-time with two kids and it was a nagging fear. I quickly found that you naturally make the connection and prioritize the time. Time spent with a CASA youth becomes something you really look forward to and I would encourage anyone who is nervous about the time commitment to just do it and discover how seamlessly it fits in.”

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