Hearts of Yolo Profile: Janet Kappes

Thursday, Jun 8, 2017

Board Member Janet Kappes has never shied away from difficult situations. She started her career as a nurse in the ICU and trauma operating room Janet Kappesin Dallas, Texas. A Yolo County native, Janet moved back to the area with her husband in 1990. After the move, she began working as an organ transplant coordinator for Golden State Donor Services, eventually becoming the executive director for ten years. Her ability to handle tough situations and her passion to make a difference suited her perfectly in this role where she gained experience in board development, volunteer recruitment, outreach, and community service.

When she stopped working at Golden State Donor Services, she served on the board of Yolo Hospice for six years. After that, she felt it was time to help a different nonprofit. Yolo County CASA had always been on her radar. “My daughter was going to be a senior the year I became involved with Yolo County CASA and I thought back on her childhood and teen years.  She was our only child and we volunteered in all of her activities and provided her with plenty of support. I always wondered what children did who didn’t have the support my daughter had.”

A couple of years after Janet joined the board, she went through CASA volunteer training. “That was really eye opening. During the training, you hear from foster families, social workers, and former foster youth. Through these people and their stories you see that CASA volunteers aren’t only important, they are essential.”

As part of the training, she went to court as well. “Going to court was a pivotal moment. The day I was there, a couple of foster children were talking to the judge about what they wanted for their future. These particular children were not going to be reunited with their parents. I was amazed at how well spoken and mature they were for their age. Most teenagers would have been talking about what was going on with friends in high school and maybe applying for colleges, but they were talking about how they were going to survive. By supporting Yolo County CASA, I feel like we are supporting these children who have lost the support that most kids take for granted.”

As for the future, Janet plans to continue her service with Yolo County CASA through her position on the board. “I enjoy being on this board because it is full of passionate people. Everyone works extremely hard. I love being a part of the group and helping in whatever way I can.” After her board service, Janet hopes to someday be a CASA volunteer. “After going through the training, I see it as a definite part of my future. I encourage anyone who is wondering whether or not to become a CASA to go through the training. It will be one of the most moving things you’ve ever done.”

 

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