by Helen Martin
Kim met her husband Kevin 32 years ago working in Avondale, where she grew up. Now with four children and enjoying life in the home they built at Shelly Beach, he still works as operations manager at the furniture company where they met, a job he loves, while she has established herself as a life coach and tireless community volunteer.
Her journey working with people needing a hand up began with studying through the Life Coaching Academy in Australia in 2004. Becoming a mentor coach for the academy affirmed her choice of career and since then she has been kept busy with individual clients and workshops. “I work with people at crossroads - they might be wanting to change jobs, or to find a new direction after coming out of a relationship. I also have clients who feel stuck in trauma and grief,” she says. “I use Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) techniques, helping people bring an unconscious faulty belief to the conscious mind to help them move on.” She also helps people with parenting, which involves sessions in their homes on things like budgeting, cooking and parenting, and links them to resources in the community. Kim is continually training, and has added hypnotherapy to her skills, has completed a diploma in psychology through the Open Polytech and is working towards a degree. But she says she also does a lot on intuition” When I’m coaching someone my plan is to have them leave in a better frame of mind with some new strategies they can use immediately.”
Since she was 16 and going to the Wilson Home in Takapuna to visit a friend’s brother with muscular dystrophy, Kim wanted to do something to help children. “It was a whole world I didn’t realise existed, children and parents less fortunate than us with big problems.” With three children still living at home, three years ago Kim and Kevin joined the fostering programme. Kim had been doing some work in the special needs unit at Kaipara College and decided it was time to open their house to a foster child. “Like all foster parents we take it really seriously. It’s a hard journey, because you’re picking up the pieces of a child’s life and you don’t know everything that’s happened to them,” Kim says. “It’s like having a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle and being given 15 pieces and some are broken. Sometimes it’s the first time those kids have been able to sleep in a safe house and relax, rather than living on high alert. We foster through an agency where the kids have quite high behaviour problems, but they thrive when they’re given love, acceptance and boundaries. You’re not alone. Social workers and other professional organisations put the best team around the child to give them the best chance and put in major supports for you and your family, so it doesn’t impact the family negatively. Sometimes you do think ‘this is hard, why have we taken it on’, but you also know that, if you give up, you’re one more adult who has. You learn to be a tough advocate for someone else’s child.”
Wearing yet another hat, Kim has worked for NIWA for the past three years, firstly in fishing research and now in biosecurity, educating people about marine pests in the harbour, warning them about transporting them from coast to coast. “It’s about cleaning your boat and your gear,” she says. “In summer I spend a lot of time at the beach talking to people and giving them written information. People are very receptive, because they want to protect the harbour, so they’re keen to do what’s needed.”
There’s also a lot of voluntary work in Kim’s CV. If boaties mess up Shelly Beach Road with discarded rubbish, she’ll organise a clean-up with a few locals. She spends a lot of time relaxing with her family, fishing off the wharf and hanging out at Shelly Beach, and after assisting in a rescue began running raffles to fundraise for the Kaipara Coastguard – in the past 6 months, she says, the raffles have raised almost $1000. “We’re very lucky to have local cafe’s supporting them and wonderful people donating and contributing.” With two of her daughters she is a volunteer medical responder in the Shelly Breach Fire Brigade, and with her son Sam, a Helensville Primary student, she volunteers for Westpac Helicopter, helping sell merchandise and raise awareness about the service at public events.
Kim says she loves helping people and that, while juggling all her commitments is a challenge, it’s one she relishes. “I’m programmed to get the most out of a situation. I love talking to people and I’m passionate about it so, whatever role I’m in, I give it 100%. Although life is busy, we have a good work/life balance.”
by Helen Martin