OUR PEOPLE, THEIR STORIES: KIMBERLY WOOLFOLK, INDYEAST PROMISE ZONE VISTA
Kimberly Woolfolk is the Economic Development Coordinator VISTA for the IndyEast Promise Zone at the John Boner Neighborhood Center (JBNC). As her service year comes to an end, our Communications Coordinator VISTA, Rachel Graham, sat down with Kimberly to reflect on her time in this position. In this article, you’ll learn about her history with the Eastside, a notable project she worked on in her position, her time as a VISTA, her future career plans, and her final words for the Promise Zone.
Kimberly’s History with the Eastside
Kimberly is no stranger to the Eastside. She is a graduate of Arsenal Tech High School, and her daughter currently attends school down the street from JBNC. Despite living in Indianapolis for many years, Kimberly admits she “…was never really aware of John Boner programming until [she] came into this position.”
While she may not have utilized many of JBNC’s services back then, she lends a unique perspective in community outreach. She knows what it’s like to be a resident on the Eastside unaware of all the resources that are being offered. This perspective has allowed her to “…build and increase awareness of economic development not just in buildings, but in people.”
This increase in awareness, according to Kimberly, helps residents “…who might have considered going across town to get services realize that there are resources right in their community.”
A Notable Project
Kimberly feels lucky to be a part of the community development and collective action that the Promise Zone designation has facilitated. She has witnessed firsthand how the funding brought on by the designation has transformed her neighborhood.
National Small Business Week, according to Kimberly, is a great example of an initiative that has made a tangible difference in the community. Getting to work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been one of the most notable projects she’s worked on. In working with SBA, Kimberly “…got to help the community by providing resources to help small businesses or those who are trying to start one.”
Kimberly’s Time as a VISTA
Kimberly admits her year of service wasn’t always easy. In a unique set of circumstances, she was the only VISTA member in her cohort for the majority of her service year. It was often challenging to be the only VISTA member working for the Promise Zone. She credits Elizabeth Nash, our Promise Zone Director, for helping her through the tough times. Elizabeth’s leadership gave Kimberly the guidance to cultivate how to be in this sort of position.
“Elizabeth helped me find ways to set boundaries and not be afraid to stand firm when I provide support.”
What’s next for Kimberly
Although her year of service is ending, Kimberly’s involvement in the community is not. She has accepted a position as Circle City Readers (CCR) through the City of Indianapolis in partnership with RISE Indy. CCR’s goal is to improve the scores for iRead and iLearn in Warren Township and Pike Township. Kimberly’s area of focus with be with the K-3 students in Warren Township, where her program will provide tutoring for these students at no cost to the students or their families. She’s excited to work with the students and see how this program grows.
Kimberly Thanks the Promise Zone
Kimberly credits her time in the Promise Zone for inspiring her to continue providing support services to those who need it. Her time as the Economic Development Coordinator has prepared her for her new role by giving her the skills “…to create relationships and to solve bigger problems by finding ways to work together and be a support.”
Kimberly leaves one last piece of advice for someone joining the Promise Zone as a new VISTA member.
“Ask a lot of questions, look at how you can engage with the work, and have fun with it. Ask yourself, ‘How can I be the solution?’ It might not always be easy, but doing this kind of work is what matters and makes a difference in the end.”
Although Elizabeth and the other VISTA’s will miss Kimberly and her outgoing, lovable personality, we know she is off to do some great things in our community. Thank you, Kimberly, for your service as a VISTA – we wish you the best!