by Rod H. Father to Kim H., 27
Kim is a 27 year old with Downs Syndrome. After she graduated from high school, her life stalled. Without the structure of classes and regular meetings with her community of other special needs adults, she drifted into a period of inactivity and depression.
Two years ago, Kim moved from Oregon to San Jose, CA where she began living as an almost-independent adult via the Region Center. She moved into a group home with 5 other developmentally disabled
women. In this new and challenging world, she began a new life of her own creation. She began exercising with her roommates, participated in Special Olympics, and found intermittent employment through Hope Services. She lost over 50 pounds of excess weight. She began opening up to new people. Soon she was among the chattiest people at gatherings of family and friends. As her independence and self-confidence grew, she asked her case manager for work outside Hope Service! s… in the real world.
She interviewed for and won a job with J Lohr Winery, along with 5 other developmentally disabled adults. She works 30 hours a week in the San Jose warehouse where she helps label and package wine and earns enough money to help support herself. Kim is no longer on the receiving end of every government and social structure! She now contributes to pay rent. She now pays taxes. She pays for her Out Reach taxi rides to and from work. She pays her own airfare to visit her mom and sister in Oregon. She takes her nephew and niece to the movies. For the first time, she contributed to the family Thanksgiving feast by providing J Lohr wine!
Last month she got a raise!! As she discussed the possibilities for this new money with me, she mentioned that there are children in the world who do not have enough, food, medicine, and education. She wanted to help. We shared the work of The Hunger Project and ! asked her if she would like to invest. (www.thp.org) Like every responsible adult, she responded by saying that she needed more information before she could decide!! She watched an information Hunger Project DVD and decided that this is where she will put her money.
Starting with the opinion that investing $0.50 of her hourly wage was “Too cheap, Dad”, she has decided to invest $90 per month. Kim H. is now investing $1000 per year toward ending world hunger and help young girls around the world to get an education!
This commitment is a true expression of who Kim is and how much she loves children. The Hunger Project has once again helped a special woman unleash her human spirit! Kim is an extraordinary example of a woman working through her personal challenges toward a world where all children are fed, loved, and educated. She inspires me.