We have an incredible team of people working at Family Builders, and I want to start introducing them to you. First up: Katrina Zmaila, one of our group facilitators.
Describe the work you do at Family Builders.
I’m a group facilitator for two of our programs, the Batterers Intervention Program and the Compassion Workshop classes. The Compassion Workshop classes run for 12 weeks, and the Batterers Intervention Program runs for 52 weeks. I’m one of only a few staff members who are cross-trained to facilitate both of those groups.
I also do some client intake work for people coming into our programs. Sometimes we get people referred to our programs but our programs may not be the best fit for them. I talk with the individual, do some assessments, and look at some other records to see if it is a good fit or if I can refer them to another program.
What’s your professional background?
I’m a therapist with a master’s degree in counseling. When I was in school, I did an internship with an office that facilitated several groups, and I learned that I really enjoyed working with groups. Prior to coming to Family Builders, I worked in a court-ordered program that helped sex offenders with re-entry and facilitated a lot of groups there as well.
What’s your favorite part of the work you do?
My favorite part of my work is seeing light bulbs turn on for people. They’re learning to build healthy relationships and learning to recognize some of the issues they’re facing. It’s powerful.
My work allows me to help people realize their own value and realize that they can change. They can make the change happen in their life, and they can live a life that’s fulfilling. I’ve always really liked that part. Once they feel like somebody believes in them, it makes the whole process so much easier. The part of them that feels defeated starts to go away, and they start to get filled with hope again.
What else are you passionate about?
I’ve been a foster parent for 13 years, and I currently have six children in my home. I originally got certified because I was working in a church nursery, and at the time, you had to be a licensed foster parent in order to babysit any kids in foster care.
Then I knew a teenager who ran away from home. I took her to a local center for runaways and called her mom to explain where she was and that she was safe. We had a really long conversation about what was going on, and the mom asked if I would care for her daughter and granted me guardianship.
My role as a foster parent gives me a unique perspective to help our clients at Family Builders, many of whom have children who are in foster care while they complete our programs. Sometimes they have a specific perception of foster parents, and when I share that I’m a foster parent as well, that may give them another perception. My goal as a program facilitator is to give them the tools they need to be reunited with their children.