After 28 years at CAPS, Vicki Kalil knows that empathy is the tool she uses the most. As a Family Advocate working with families of child sexual abuse victims, Vicki says “sometimes the best thing I could do was cry with them – my tears made their tears okay too. I wanted them to know that they can move forward, and things can be okay, and their child can be okay. Life may have to be different, but together they can get through it. It would take some time, but it was possible. I always wanted to give them hope.”
Vicki began as a childcare provider for the Power program at Oaklawn in 1992. Parents would drop their children off at CAPS while they attended addiction classes. Eventually she added childcare for parenting classes, then worked as the first secretary for the Child and Family Advocacy Center (CFAC), moved over to CASA, then became a Supervised Visitation facilitator and finally returned to CFAC as a Family Advocate.
Her CFAC work brought her in touch with forensic interviewers, caseworkers, and detectives that daily listen to stories children should never have to tell. According to Vicki “they all do it with such love and integrity…they all work for the best outcome for the child, so that they will be safe. I thank them for their dedication and often don’t know how they do it day after day.”
Vicki attributes her own longevity to maintaining a part-time schedule. When she first started at CAPS, working part time meant she was available for her own family. Later she realized the benefits of having time outside of the job to regroup, take care of herself and cultivate other interests. She felt that her personal experience as a parent, at times feeling guilty or inept, helped her to relate to the parents she served. She adds that her Christian faith enabled her to look at her work as a vocation of love.
Celebrating her 70th birthday in December amidst a pandemic impacted Vicki’s decision to retire earlier this month. She says it made her think of all the times she said, “I’ll do that when I retire” and decided it was time to get started on that part of her life. She plans to read this winter and travel when restrictions are lifted. She also sees a strong possibility of staying involved at CAPS through volunteer work.
We are thankful for her example and her dedication to the mission of CAPS.
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