Past and present: Katina Sinclair continues focus of reintegrating individuals back into their communities

“Building trust.”

Katina Sinclair calls that a key component to the relationships she forged as a case manager at Volunteers of America (VOA). But that is also at the heart of her new role at Clear Path for Veterans Southern Tier as community outreach coordinator.

Sinclair, who goes by the nickname Kat, worked with both male civilians and Veterans in VOA’s Permanent Supportive Housing. Her focus was to prepare them to return to their community, similar to Clear Path’s mission to “restoring, reconnecting and integrating” Veterans back into their communities.

“(I helped them) find jobs, go back to school, (participate in) substance abuse, mental health and medical services, and (locate) stable housing,” she said. And many of them were able to return to the work force.

“I had many success stories. One that sticks out is a gentleman who came in to the homeless shelter – at this time I was still a resident aide. He was in very bad way: He could not see hardly at all, and he had many medical conditions that needed to be attended to. He was a Veteran and needed support in a variety of ways. I started with his medical; I set him up at the VA clinic in Syracuse with a number of different doctors. I also helped him apply for Social Security benefits, Veteran’s benefits and medical insurance,” Sinclair said. “Through all this I basically became his support system. I set up his medical transportation, and all his medical and surgery appointments. Through all this he built his confidence back up to be able go back in the community. (After some time, he asked if I) … could start helping him look for apartments in the community and programs out there to support him. Needless to say, he came from being homeless to going back into the community in eight months.

“To this day we remain in contact, but he can do everything for himself and lives back in the community.”

Although her new position has at its core community relations – such as creating and fostering partnerships with government, tribal, faith-based, healthcare, business, human service and other organizations, and participating in public speaking engagements – she will also foster relationship building between Wingmen volunteers and Veterans similar to the connections she built at VOA.

“(I am excited about) reaching out to the community and letting Veterans know there is help for them all in one location. I like that Clear Path offers so many components, such as the art, dog training and the Canteens,” Sinclair said.

Although she is not a Veteran herself, she is surrounded by them in her family, including four uncles who served in the Vietnam War – two in the U.S. Navy and two in the U.S. Army – and nephews who serve in U.S. Marine Corps; one who retired in the past year.

Sinclair currently lives in Endicott with her husband Scott, two sons – Casy and Ethan- and their dog, RC. In her free time, she enjoyed baking, reading, listening to music and working in her flower beds.

To contact her, send email to Katina@ClearPathForVets.com.