Information Hub / BlogAHW Volunteer Profile: Kathy Vila

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Q: How and when did you first get involved with A Home Within, and why were you drawn to it?
A: I first heard about A Home Within when I was a postdoc years ago at Access Institute, which provides mental health treatment to low income and underinsured individuals, couples and families. I was drawn to it because I am concerned about the social injustices in society and empathize with the many people and families without resources and support to grow.

Q: What would you say to someone considering volunteering with and/or donating to A Home Within?
A: It’s a wonderful organization that does such good work! It connects seasoned therapists to children and young adults who desperately need stability and continuity of care. And, even though it is challenging to create strong bonds with kids who have been repeatedly disappointed and hurt, the work is very rewarding.

Q: What do you think people not yet familiar with A Home Within would find most surprising about the work the organization does?
A: They may be surprised by the fact that A Home Within is so well-organized and staffed. Every AHW staff member and volunteer I have met has been wonderful. The people AHW attracts are dedicated, interesting, smart and hardworking. AHW also does an excellent job supporting its volunteers. For example, AHW organizes peer consultation groups to support the emotional demands of working with the foster care population who have had so much loss in their lives. They also regularly offer excellent and free continuing education classes. The people at AHW also genuinely and regularly offer appreciation and gratitude for the work we are doing.

Q: As you know, we are celebrating both the inspiring history and promising future of A Home Within. Where do you hope to see A Home Within headed in the future? What would you like to see happen?
A: I would like to see the organization continue to increase the number of volunteers and continue to support us as well as you do. I’m not sure if the organization works with people outside of the US, but it might also consider expanding to other countries.

Q: What are some other projects and/or accomplishments outside of your volunteer work with A Home Within you are most proud of?
A: I am proud of my work providing pro-bono therapy to first responders during the pandemic. I am also proud of raising two wonderful sons, nurturing a 35+ year marriage, and leaving a good research job to lead bike trips in my twenties.