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Kimberly Castor, an OU alumnus, poses for a portrait in Baker University Center on Tuesday. Castor is the director of the Survivor Advocacy Program, which was revamped this semester. (LIZ MOUGHON | FOR THE POST)

New Survivor Advocacy Program director shares goals for year

Born and raised in Southeastern Ohio, Kimberly Castor is continuing her career in social work at her alma mater. 

Castor, the Survivor Advocacy Program Director at Ohio University, offers support and information to student survivors of sexual assault and violence. 

“I was looking for something that I would be able to use my education and my experience and work in the community that I love," Castor said. "I’m from the area. I wanted to stay in the area, so when the position became available, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me because it was at OU, it was with a population I really felt passionate about.”

Castor, who is from Meigs County, completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at OU in social work in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

When she attended OU as a student, the OU Survivor Advocacy Program was in existence, but she did not know much about the program.

“I did have classmates that did internships and job shadowing with the program,” Castor said.

After completing graduate school, she did adjunct teaching in the social work program and worked through the child welfare program. She went on to work at Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare, the state mental health center in Athens, for four years before taking her new position as SAP director.

As director, she is in charge of office staff and collaborations with prevention education efforts on campus. She also has full programmatic responsibility in addressing campus-wide interpersonal violence. 

Castor has two goals for the academic year: getting the word out about SAP and creating relationships in the community.

“My two main goals are just getting the word out that we’re here,” Castor said. “We had feedback from previous years that students just didn’t know the program existed or didn’t know what it was.”

Castor started her position as SAP director on June 27 and her salary is $62,000.

SAP’s purpose is to provide confidential support and counseling to survivors of sexual assault, stalking and relationship violence. Instead of being called the Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program as it was in the past, the program is now the Survivor Advocacy Program. 

Associate Dean of Students Patti McSteen, who now oversees the program, said the transition of SAP to the division of Student Affairs has been smooth.

“I am pleased with the level of dedication, compassion, care and thoroughness that Kim and Kristin have demonstrated during their first few months with survivors advocacy program,” McSteen said in an email.  

After spending the summer adjusting to her new role, Castor said she was ready for students to return to campus. She said SAP has received a lot of walk-ins and crisis calls.

“When the students came back, (the transition) seemed pretty seamless I think,” Kristin Waltz, SAP survivor advocate/case manager, said. “Plus, I think we do a pretty job of problem solving as we move along through things. I think that’s a combination of the experiences that we’ve had professionally works very well together.”

Delaney Anderson, whose annual salary was $37,230, was the program coordinator of OUSAP, but left her position last October for a job outside the university. Anderson was a non-mandated reporter so her absence left OUSAP without a licensed and credentialed program coordinator. A non-mandated reporter does not have to report suspicions of abuse.

OUSAP temporarily closed Nov. 16, and in March the university announced SAP would reopen Fall Semester.

SAP is not exclusively for those who recently experienced sexual assault.   

“We‘ve had people present that had childhood trauma that they’re ready to start working towards,” Castor said. “Not that we provide counseling, but we can link them to resources on-campus or off-campus."

The program also offers a 24/7 confidential crisis line at (740) 597-7233.


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