KATY MAGAZINE l DECEMBER 2019 By Ali Litton
Since 1984, Katy Christian Ministries (KCM) has been steadfastly committed to helping local families and individuals fight poverty, hunger, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Here are three Katy area women who are helping to lead the charge.
Working with hurting people on a daily basis who are often desperate and traumatized can weigh heavy on a heart. But for some people who dedicate their lives to service, it becomes more of a calling than a career. Three of the women who help lead Katy Christian Ministries are devoted to providing hope and healing to those who need it most.
The name Katy Christian Ministries (KCM) has become synonymous within the Katy community as a source of help, both for those who need it and for those who seek to give it. Yet sometimes, we think of this organization as an entity rather than a group of passionate, devoted individuals.
DEYSI CRESPO, Executive Director
Helping through the Darkest Times
Well-equipped for the role of Executive Director of KCM, Crespo embodies a heart to serve others, a love for people and a belief that those struggling can reach their full potential with the right help. She has extensive credentials - a bachelor’s degree in Social Work with a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Houston and a Masters of Social Work with a clinical concentration from U of H Graduate College of Social Work. Crespo also earned a certificate in Child and Adolescent Trauma from the National Center for Social Work Trauma and Workforce Development.
Crespo has the background and the drive to bring about real change in the community through helping individuals during their darkest times.
But she didn’t start at the top. Crespo began her work as a volunteer in 2007 in KCM’s Resale Store and in the Crisis Center. She then joined the staff as a Sexual Assault Prevention Specialist, Advocate, and Crisis Center Director which led her to become the Developmental Coordinator. She became Executive Director in 2014. Crespo’s desire and willingness to serve those around her is evident in all the roles she has taken on within the organization.
Working tirelessly, Crespo has led the KCM team to become a Trauma-Informed Care Agency with a Certified Sexual Assault Training Program led by the Office of the Attorney General. KCM has achieved the top 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, and received numerous valuable recognitions and accreditations.
The love she is able to share with others begins at home, with Rom, her husband of 14 years, and their two children Steven (18) and Dominique (17).
A leader of leaders, Crespo is truly fit to give everyone who walks through the doors of KCM the help they need.
“It fills my heart with joy knowing that I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life even if I am just acting as a sounding board,” says Crespo. “I love seeing the smiles return to people's faces who at one point felt hopeless.”
Blessed by her work and the families she is able to serve, Crespo gives without expectation and trusts in her faith to guide her through any situation.
SUSAN DENISE HASTINGS, Crisis Center Director
A Strong Desire to Help People Heal
Susan Denise Hastings has volunteered and worked in Katy for over 30 years. During that time, she has witnessed firsthand the increased need in the town for the services offered at KCM. Hastings sees the Katy community as her community and serves boldly and with unwavering passion to those in need.
Hastings fills the valuable position of Director of the KCM Crisis Center. She has more than 17 years of experience working with victims of violent crime. Hastings holds certifications through the Texas Council of Family Violence, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of State Health Services for Pastoral Crisis Intervention, the Professional Administrator Credentialing Board of Texas, the Texas Department of Human Services, and the Texas Association of Child Care Administrators.
Since 2002, Hastings has worked with KCM, making a noticeable impact. For more than a decade, she has been an integral part, or key to the implementation of, many positive changes within different departments. One thing has never changed, though - her love for others. Hastings has a strong desire to help people in need to heal, and retain their dignity, as they rebuild their lives.
Taking on the burden of trauma for so many people would weigh heavy on anyone’s heart. But Hastings finds solace in the incredibly important work she’s able to do, and her family. The Hastings family includes her husband, Katy Mayor Bill Hastings, and their five children, their spouses and nine grandchildren.
“Despite the hardships of this job, I’m continuously inspired by our community and how they band together to help Katy Christian Ministries by giving of their time, monetary donations and/or prayer for support of our clients and staff members," says Hastings. "I couldn’t do this job without the support of our community."
HOLLY HAVLICK, Food Pantry Director
No One is Exempt from Difficult Times
Before joining KCM, Holly Havlick worked as an Environmental Biologist and raised her family for 23 years. She will never forget her disastrous return to the workforce in August, 2017. Her first day in her role as Food Pantry Director at KCM was the day after Hurricane Harvey left much of Katy flooded.
KCM took in more than twelve inches of water. None of the food on the bottom shelves of the food pantry could be saved. While many non-profit organizations were forced to close their doors, Havlick and KCM worked to support the community of Katy.
Once the flooded roads subsided enough to be passable, the real work began. Sheetrock was cut out and removed, and KCM collected generous donations of thousands of pounds of food and cleaning supplies. The staff and volunteers eventually set up a double lane drive-through to get supplies out to people in need.
“In good times and in bad, Katy residents want to help their neighbors and KCM is one of the most direct ways to accomplish that,” reflects Havlick on what she witnessed during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
This concept was reinforced when the Food Pantry won the Houston Food Bank Harvey Response Award out of 1500 agency partners. Havlick credits all of Katy for this recognition.
Food Pantry Accommodates Increased Needs
Like Hastings, Havlick has seen the growing need in the community for the services provided by KCM. In 2017, they provided an average 34 households daily with 1,842 lbs. of food. Currently they provide for an average of 111 households a day that receive 6,595 lbs. of food. This number reflects the town’s growing need, but the increasing realization that help is here.
KCM offers help without judgement and contempt. Changes to the Food Pantry distribution process reflect that mission. Now, visitors participate in a traditional shopping experience, choosing their items and filling carts, rather than receiving a handout.
Generous Spirit of a Community
“If we are lucky, life is long," says Havlick, and she doesn't forget that "no one is exempt from difficult times."
This poignant sentiment mirrors her role in helping the community. She understands that everyone struggles at some point in their life, and no one should deny or turn away others who need help because it may be us next.
Crespo, Hastings and Havlick embody exceptional spirits founded on selflessness. Their desire to help those in need is explicitly exemplified within Katy Christian Ministries, the employees, and volunteers. Together, they work toward the goal to support people in the Katy community.