Meet Kathy Ogle, a long-time volunteer on Amica Center’s jail visits.

Kathy is a partially retired Spanish-English conference interpreter, who started volunteering 10 years ago. She has regularly participated in visits to both Farmville Detention Center and Caroline Detention Facility and has provided live interpretation for a few cases. On jail visits, she helps conduct intakes and follow-up meetings with immigrants who are detained.

“As legal pathways to immigration become even more restricted, and rhetoric against migrants is ramped up,” Kathy says, “I want to use my language skills to be helpful. And even when there is no legal pathway to assist someone, I hope to be a friendly and respectful face on their journey.”

Kathy emphasizes that “every immigrant has a story, and it’s beautiful to be trusted with those stories.” For people thinking about volunteering with Amica Center, she says, “just do it because you won’t regret it.”

Kathy has a few favorite memories and throughout the years, she’s witnessed Amica Center staff coach immigrants through a role play of their immigration court hearings. Individuals would play different roles and practice different scenarios—for instance, asking the judge for bond.

As she remembers, “The immigrants enjoyed this and would laugh a lot. It was wonderful to see them become increasingly more comfortable as we walked through the scenarios. Treating each individual as a human deserving of safety and respect is something the [Amica Center] staff were always great at.”

A fun fact about Kathy: She attended elementary school in Korea, where she learned to play the accordion.