Kathy King will never forget meeting a 4-year-old who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His little sister seemed to be protecting him as they held hands, terrified, at their foster home. King knew that there was more to his story.
And she was right.
The children had been victims of neglect and incredible violence. The children were suffering from PTSD, much like war veterans. King, a ProKids Manager for volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), saw first-hand how access to therapy helped these children to heal.
And she’s made it her life’s work to bring all kinds of services to children so that they can heal.
The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio recently awarded its 2014 Community Connector Award to King in Columbus, recognizing her dedication to giving others the opportunity to achieve their fullest health potential.
Since 1999, King has been a part of ProKids, an agency which mobilizes CASA volunteers to advocate for foster children. She works tirelessly through committees, trainings and presentations to make a difference. She is on the steering committees of the Hamilton County Family Violence Prevention Project, where she serves as chair of the Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence Committee, and the Hamilton County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.
She researched, developed and continues to direct the Steps to Peace Program for ProKids which trains CASA volunteers on recognizing the signs of witnessing domestic violence in children and addressing the issues that arise.
“Kathy’s work has not only impacted thousands of children she has directly served, but also many thousands more who are reached by those she trains,” said Tracy Cook, executive director of ProKids. “She helped bring together nationally known experts to create programs that break the cycle of family violence by recognizing the signs of trauma and then intervening to keep children safe.”
King said she first became interested in how violence affected children when she noticed that foster children diagnosed with ADHD were often not being helped by medication. “I wondered if there was another reason,”King said. “And I found that in almost 100 percent of those cases, there was some kind of family violence. It was PTSD, the response to trauma, that was causing the symptoms that looked like ADHD.”
King’s efforts led to research led to Steps to Peace, which is presented throughout the country, as well as integrated into the training of ProKids CASA volunteers who are serving more than 500 of Hamilton County’s foster care children this year.
King’s honor from the HealthPath Foundation includes designating a grant of $2,500 to a nonprofit of her choice. The nonprofit must work in one of HealthPath’s focus areas and predominantly serve at least one of HealthPath’s 36 counties. King selected ProKids as the recipient of this grant.
ProKids envisions a safe, permanent and nurturing home for every child. As a nonprofit organization in Hamilton County, Ohio, that mobilizes the community by training and supporting volunteers who break the vicious cycle of child abuse and neglect. ProKids Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA volunteers) speak up for abused and neglected children, guiding them to safe environments where they can thrive.
For more than 30 years, ProKids has changed the arc of children’s lives through engaged volunteers, a proactive staff and a Committed Community. We work to create a new cycle of growing up safe and secure, fundamentally changing the future for children and for Greater Cincinnati. Find out more at www.prokids.org.
The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio (HPF-Ohio), a $24 million supporting organization of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, is committed to helping all Ohioans achieve their fullest health potential. Since 1999, HPF-Ohio has awarded more than $14 million in grants to address some of the most pressing health issues faced by Ohio’s vulnerable population — access to health care, prevention of family violence, and preventive oral health.