"Nobody knows what we're for, only what we're against when we judge the wounded."
Who We Are
Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Come As You Are Cville was formed in the Summer of 2018 with a $20 bill and two cans of corn and worked to receive its 501(c)3 nonprofit status in May of 2020. Founder and Executive Director Tristan Kabesa started with a mission to serve the homeless and less fortunate of the Central Virginia region. Now, as a faith-driven and rapidly growing organization, Come As You Are Cville is serving locally, regionally, and fervently working towards growing nationally, providing their services, and improving the quality of life for many.
To provide Christian principle services to the poor, hungry, and unsheltered homeless through daily outreach, meals, Bible studies, food drives, and advocacy.
As ambassadors of Christ in our community, we commit to treating those we serve with dignity, respect, love, and compassion, following Christ’s commandment to love one another as He loves us.
Board of Directors
Members of the Board of Directors of Come As You Are Cville serve as volunteers. Come As You Are Cville elects the majority of our board members, with the others appointed by the board. As policy leaders themselves, board members are instrumental as partners in strategic decisions for CAYAC and in advocating for Charlottesville’s displaced community.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tristan developed a soft spot for the less fortunate at a very young age. Growing up in a spiritual household and realizing that wealth wasn’t complacent if not shared with others, he began purchasing ice cream weekly for all of the neighborhood’s less fortunate friends. “Coming to America” at the age of 14; Washington D.C, one of the highest-rated places in the country with homelessness, is where he landed. Moving to Charlottesville in the year 2017, Tristan made Charlottesville his home. One summer afternoon in 2018, walking the downtown mall with a $20 bill and two cans of corn looking for someone to be a blessing to, CAYA was formed. He came across a young lady sitting with a dog and a sign. Offering her the money and the cans of corn, she replied, “you’re so sweet. Do you see that couple over there? They haven’t made anything all day. I made $8, I’m fine. Please give it to them.” He did as she requested, but came back to sit with her for 2 hours, exchanged info, and kept in touch until the day she passed away from cancer. That day, I learned the beauty in selflessness, that despite one’s struggle. That very moment, he decided to be the voice for the silent sufferers of homelessness and the less fortunate.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Beatrice Kabesa grew up in a Christian family. In adulthood, she understood that people could not speak for themselves but needed a voice. She also understood that there were people that needed a hand to guide them towards a brighter future. So Beatrice became part of a Christian association where she would always speak to the less fortunate women, children and families. One person at a time with the faith of knowing that when you help one person, you help a family, you help a nation. Beatrice believes that with Come As You Are CVille, we can say no to the pain that eats away at the heart of those afflicted by abandonment and homelessness. Participating in healing one heart is healing a nation.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has lived there for a good part of his life, Stephane Kabesa has observed and witnessed the effects of homelessness and poverty on society firsthand. His heart for helping those in need developed in him as he was growing up. Coming to America, he lived in a shelter at the beginning of his journey into a new foreign land. The experience further resolved his desire to help the homeless in whichever way possible. Life has brought him closer and closer to this as he now serves on the board of Come As You Are Cville as the Associate Director.
Kaity L. Yang, M.Ed
Kaity L. Yang is committed to social justice, particularly women’s trauma and assault. As a survivor herself, Yang personally understands and helps others triumph over trauma, heal over the hurt, and fight to find the faith to live again with compassion and assistance in legal system navigation. As a poet, Yang speaks to difficult topics to unearth and break the stigma. Her latest work was recently featured with OCA-National, an advocacy group in Washington DC. Yang has a university administration and student affairs background, having previously worked for the Ron Brown Scholar Program, and Yang herself is a Gates Millennium Scholar.
Zachary Galli is a fourth-year kinesiology student at UVA. He’s been volunteering with CAYA over the past year when in Cville. In the summers and winters, he returns to his hometown in Williamsburg, Va. Zachary is in the UVA Army ROTC program and hopes to commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Medical Services branch in May when he graduates. He has always had a passion for service and volunteering. His hobbies include hanging out with fraternity brothers, playing basketball, golf, and soccer.
Volunteering with CAYA brings him the most joy of any past time that he has. From the memories, at cookouts and clothing drives, to the people, he’s met and the lives changing, Zachary can’t help but feel all of the joy that CAYA spreads into the community. “Tristan has created something extraordinary here in Charlottesville, and I believe it’s something that’s needed all over the world.”