by Will Orlowski, Americorps VISTA, Ticket to Read Program Coordinator
“I want to complete everything you have to offer!” – Kim Kline
When I asked Kim Kline to sit down with me after her class on Monday, the first thing she wanted to know was what she had done wrong. I smiled and told her, “Nothing!” and that, in fact, she had done a lot right and I wanted to interview her for this blog post. She seemed surprised and a little bashful, telling me that she did not think anyone would want to read about her. Nevertheless, she was happy to answer my questions.
This is a perfect example of why Kim is an exemplary student. Kim is modest and polite, incredibly friendly and always willing to stick around and speak with me or the instructors if needed. She works hard and comes to class every week prepared and eager to learn more.
“I was tired of not being able to read,” Kim said to me when I asked what brought her to Literacy Kansas City. Retired now, Kim was born and raised in Topeka before moving to Kansas City to support her daughters and help raise her grandchildren. In fact, prior to retiring Kim worked in the daycare her grandchildren went to, caring for them and other Kansas City children. It was her family, Kim says, that helped her take the first step with her literacy.
“It was something I’d been wanting to do for years,” Kim told me. She had not had the courage to try until her daughters encouraged her, and when they referred her to Literacy KC she knew it was time to start.
“Before I started the program I was beginning to have a positive attitude, but since I started I’ve felt wonderful… For the first time in my life I believe that I can accomplish this.” Kim made sure to praise her teacher, Sarah Bell, particularly.
“Miss Sarah is a special person,” Kim said with a grin. “Miss Dorothy (Elliot) and Miss Brenda (Moore) are wonderful too, but all of them are great,” she also mentions, referring to the tutors that work with her class, which meets every Monday and Wednesday for an hour and a half. Currently, her class is reading about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and on Monday they read his famed “I Have a Dream” speech. The students all were asked to write about their own dreams, and Kim was quick to tell me hers.
“I want to complete everything you have to offer,” she says with determination, referring to the other programs offered at Literacy Kansas City. She is particularly interested in math tutoring and the digital life skills workshops designed to help students increase their comfort and efficiency with technology. Judging by her work ethic, this is definitely an achievable dream for Kim.
“Kim is such a positive presence in class,” her teacher Sarah told me. “She’s always there and she always works hard. She’s so friendly and so eager to learn.”
As I wrapped up my interview with Kim, I asked her if there was anything she wanted people to know. What she said left me feeling humbled and thankful to have the opportunity to work with people like Kim every day.
“I was nervous at first, but you (Literacy KC staff and volunteers) make everybody feel so special. I feel like you guys really want to help us and accomplish our goals. This place is helping me change my life!”