Chris Castillo, of Santa Rosa’s Verity, has won one of North Bay Business Journal’s Nonprofit Leadership Awards.
Describe your organization
Verity is Sonoma County’s sole rape crisis, trauma and healing center providing services and support to all survivors of sexual violence, human trafficking, and other related sexual assaults to all ages and genders for 43 years.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am a passionate individual who has always seen herself focusing on the goal of working for what is right and just in our world. I am a survivor of sexual violence and know firsthand the impact of this horrific crime on the life of the individual, my assaults occurring in my early childhood years. I am dedicated to working as best we can to provide services and supports to those who are victimized as well as their families and systems of support and to ensure that survivors know and understand that they are not to blame for this crime happening to them.
I have been married to Herb Castillo for 33 plus years, and we have a daughter, Camila. I have two stepchildren, Sierra and Miguel, and three grandchildren. Many life blessings!
What achievement are you most proud of?
Personally the birth and witnessing of the grown and inspiration of my magnificent daughter Camila. Professionally the way we have been able to build Verity to the organization it is today and the tremendous team that provides the multitude of services for this agency. This generous award is not solely for me…it is for this tremendous team that inspires me daily to do my very best work to keep us moving forward and providing the best services we can for those we serve.
What is your biggest challenge today?
I have dreams so I guess the challenge would be to make those dreams come true. A significant dream is to have a large home in the woods, with area for a garden, a school, a true healing center where survivors of human trafficking can come and heal, reflect, and learn to know themselves and recapture and truly to recreate their lives and to begin to love themselves through all of the trauma that has been inflicted upon them.
What is the next major project either underway or on the horizon?
Well, there are many but right now we are working on accessing funding so that we can work with mothers and caregivers of children who have been victimized and to work directly with them to answer their questions, to support them in understanding they are not alone in their fear and anxiety for their children, and in creating a group in each region of the county that ultimately “knows the ropes” and supports one another to advocate for themselves and to call upon Verity as a resources and support as well.
What product or service would/or is helping you do your job more effectively?
I have a wonderful team that truly does help me to be able to do this work as well as we do it. I also am blessed with a wonderfully successful grantwriter which eliminates a great deal of pressure on me from having to write all of the time and therefore being unable to be in community and providing the victim voice to so many critical meetings where decisions are being made.
835 Piner Road, Suite D, Santa Rosa 95403
Professional background: I have worked in the world of non profits for the past 39 years, focused primarily on programs impacting youth and underserved communities.
Education: B.A. in psychology; external master’s degree work in psychology