We are moved, even inspired by a stirring stage performance, or a footballer’s gift for taking a high mark or an historic figure who has changed the course of history. But only a few among us experience the warmth of people who most inspire Kimberly White, a client at Sandybeach Community Centre. They are her foster parents. Thirty one years ago at Mornington they chose her as someone special. She has never forgotten that day.
“I love them so much,” she says.
Ever since then, helping people has become a guiding light for Kimberly, and given her much pleasure.
“I like best volunteering, it is good for me, that’s why I’m trying to step up to be a volunteer. That’s my goal. And paid work,” she says.
On her quest Kimberly has been attending Sandybeach for more than 10 years. She is learning independent living skills, such as negotiating her way through traffic safely, how to stop, look and listen, and crossing roads safely as a pedestrian, and managing her money.
Kimberly says her tutor Cathy Jordan is friendly and generous, and does lots of things for members of her class.
“We have fun every time in our breaks,” Kimberly says. “People crack up laughing when people make funny noises.”
In Cathy’s hospitality class Kimberly is learning catering, cooking and food handling. Sometimes she cooks eggs and bacon, or spinach tarts. She would like to learn how to make curry cakes using carrots, flour, sugar and curry.
Her group helps cater for seniors groups and staff meetings at Sandybeach, It takes about 45 minutes for one of Kimberly’s cakes to bake. Taking a cake mix, she adds gluten-free flour, eggs and milk. She has made vanilla and chocolate-flavoured cakes. She has shared her freshly baked goodies at home with her good friend, Leanne, who in turn has been kind to Kimberly.
Kimberly volunteers at Central Bayside Aged Services at Mentone, where she helps prepare lunches and helps with exercise classes.
Kimberly would like to add to her volunteering at Black Rock Activity Centre, and Sandybeach. “I don’t want to be bored at home,” she says.
Later this year Kimberly will learn event planning which will help organise things like a Christmas party, another step forward to becoming a volunteer.
She is confident of travelling independently into the city, or with her family and friends. She travelled to Optus Stadium and watched her football team, Carlton. Later in September she plans to see the stage production of Mamma Mia The Musical. She has seen the movie twice. “It is fantastic. I know all the songs,” she says.
Following Carlton this year has not been as much fun, although a consolation is following her foster brother Zachary’s team, Richmond. “I have a soft spot for Richmond,’’ Kimberly says. This is just one of the benefits of having a foster family.