Kim served as a VISTA Member with Oregon Campus Compact at Concordia University working to expand access to, increase capacity of, and strengthen the social justice focus of Concordia University's Office of Service Leadership Alternative Break Leadership Experiences as well as local volunteer opportunities for students. Kim relocated to Portland, Oregon just weeks before beginning her service from the East Coast and was brand new to all things AmeriCorps and all things Portland. The task of 'getting things done' was the motto Kim lived by during her 2 years of service and has carried into each role and experience after. AmeriCorps VISTA showed Kim the breadth of impact of poverty and how systems often designed to strengthen communities can inadvertently create barriers and divisions for those most vulnerable in our society if not challenged to rise to become more equitable and accessible. With this knowledge, Kim chose to pursue graduate work in social work with a focus on communities and macro-level interventions as well as a license in School Social Work to work to 'get things done' to set students and families up for success and instill skills and strategies to reach their dreams amidst the realities of today's world.
After graduate school, Kim spent several years working at a local nonprofit within the Community Schools department in local school districts to help families access community resources, navigate school, and participate in opportunities to for fun extended day classes, activities, and groups designed to promote closing the achievement gap while having fun, learning new things, and making new friends along the way. Kim's time with AmeriCorps VISTA through Campus Compact provided daily opportunities through interactions with students, systems, and communities to learn that the impacts and origins of poverty in our community are not 'one size fits all' nor do they manifest in the same way in each individual. Campus Compact allowed Kim the opportunity to scratch the surface of Trauma Informed and Culturally Responsive practices and the connections to pursue graduate work and future employment with a local nonprofit working to move lives forward and ultimately a school district working to empower and inspire each student. As any AmeriCorps alumni knows, some days "the work" is getting stuff done to find donations for an upcoming community service project, other days it's writing a 50 page manual on how to continue sustaining built capacity, and other days its wishing you can speak truth to power but knowing that's often a prohibited activity while in service. Kim's 2 years of service built the foundation necessary to pursue social work, see the world through an equity lens, and pursue a better world personally and professionally. Throughout her 2 years and beyond, Kim's favorite quote became "the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do" and while she may not have invented the iPhone as Steve Jobs did, she's certainly carried the mission of "getting things done" into every step of every day in a way instilled deep within through 2 years of service.