Meet Kattia A. Castellanos a 2015 Hispanic Woman of Distinction
Arriving to Miami at the age of 7, via the Peter Pan project, Kattia A. Castellanos, mother of 5 and grandmother of 3 has dedicated more than 25 years to the Miami Dade County community both professionally and through volunteering to charitable causes. Kattia graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a degree in psychology and continued her studies at the Miami Dade College School of Justice.
Focused on her mission of promoting world peace, she has been mentoring, inspiring, and empowering women by advocating for victims and raising awareness of the issues impacting families today. Facing her own life challenges as a young widow, with a family to support, after a short career in education, Kattia began working with youth at-risk in the early 1990’s, and ultimately went on to develop and currently manage the day to day operations of the Victim Witness Unit of the Coral Gables Police Department since 1998. Operating within the Criminal Investigations Division, she has assisted thousands of victims of violent crimes over the years by evaluating their needs and providing protective services, guidance, and assistance to restore their lives after a crime. Kattis is also a Self Esteem realization model facilitator.
In this capacity, she has received various recognitions such as the prestigious “Purple Heart” for outstanding direct services to crime victims, the Eric Santiesteban Professional of the Year Award, Justice for All, Coral Gables Police Department Employee Excellence and Exceptional Service Awards, Outstanding Latin Women, Rotary and Lyons Club Awards, among others.
Kattia provides organizational leadership and secures best practices in victim response by conducting mandated Florida Department of Law Enforcement training to officers and serving as the liaison between the Coral Gables Police Department and the community.
With her extensive knowledge and experience in the victim services field, she served as facilitator for the U.S. Department of State‘s Washington Office of Global Women’s issues on Gender Based Violence and Rule of Law. In addition, she serves on several local, state and national task forces, coalitions, committees and advisory boards evaluating system response to violence by providing recommendations for effective procedures and developing models for intervention. Among those are the Miami Dade County Fatality Review Team, Child Death Review team, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council of Greater Miami and the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force.
“Hispanic women living in the U.S. have a dual role; to combine traditional Hispanic and American models to create a new identity. We have accomplished great things in government, politics and business without leaving behind our femininity and love of family and tradition”, stated Kattia. “We need to inspire a new generation of sisters, to create a peaceful world.”
Kattia serves as spokesperson for J.E.C.Y Foundation Teen Dating Violence Awareness, and organizes and chairs the local National Crime Victims’ Rights Committee Yearly Campaign. As a published professional, she has consulted in developing programs for other law enforcement agencies locally and internationally and has made multiple media appearances on issues impacting society today.
Kattia believes a strong community partnership and increased awareness can help eradicate violence in our nation and create safer communities. With vision and determination, she has made a difference in our community by attentively and compassionately listening, advocating, protecting and serving as a voice to all those silenced by crime including the most vulnerable, the forgotten silent victims, our children.
Meet the other 2015 Hispanic Women of Distinction: