Sometimes a person enters your life and changes it for the better for all the right reasons. We are lucky to have this experience a few times across our lives and feel honored when we get to be that person for someone else. It is the rarest of folks who have that impact on almost everyone they meet. Kim Barton is one of those incredible few. This month, Ms. Barton, steps into the world of retirement. Over the course of her 19 years at Park Academy she has been the first comforting soul that appeared when families and kids needed it the most. Having put two grandchildren through Park Academy she not only cares deeply about the mission and the people, but is also able to provide compassionate empathy because she has walked in the very shoes of those seeking help and hope.
When families find Park Academy they are often in a vulnerable state of crisis, stress, and desperation, looking for support for their struggling children and families. Kim’s comforting, caretaking nature instantly sets people at ease and then provides them messages of comfort and hope. I can remember meeting Kim the first time I came to Park Academy. I walked in with apprehension, wondering what might come of a new position and new community but after meeting Kim, I instantly knew I found a home.
The last year was difficult on a global and personal level for Kim, but the first thing I heard every day was “what can I do to help?” Kim has been inspirational in her ability to face adversity with optimism, or at least the outward message of optimism because that is what others needed. If anybody deserves to take care of themselves and be cared for by others, it is Kim Barton. I hope that Kim knows how extremely excited we are for her to spend some time in service to herself. Kim is one of those rare individuals who makes an impact not on just some people’s lives but everyone’s and the ripples of her kindness and support will impact generations. This is the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one and we wish our friend nothing but the best. Kim is, and represents, the very kind of people we all need in our lives right now. Kim, I won’t say goodbye because I won’t let you slip away from the Park Academy community that easily but, on behalf of the thousands of lives you have touched I will say Thank You, and Congratulations!