Meet Kim. She is driven, strong, and caring. She is a mother, student, and a community volunteer. In November 2020, Kim and her son Alexander, who is now 6 years old, moved into Warren Village. Kim will tell you that it was luck, something she never believed in until Warren Village, and that she randomly knew a Warren Village employee through Facebook. However, you have to talk with Kim only for a short time to know that it was more than random connections and luck. Kim is one to make moves.
Kim came to Colorado from Vietnam as a young woman in 2014. In 2018, her husband passed away unexpectedly, and she and Alexander moved to Houston to restart their life among the Vietnamese community there. When Kim lost her job as a nail technician due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she knew that she wanted to go to college, so she and Alexander moved back to Denver, where she could temporarily live with her mother-in-law. Cost of living was so high in Denver that Kim could only afford to rent a room in a shared space, but she had shared living spaces with friends and family for six years, and was ready to have her own space. That was when she connected with Warren Village. “The first I had my key, I cried,” remembers Kim. “It was like finally there is something good out there, and it’s real.”
In her life, Kim has climbed many mountains, always working to make life better for herself and Alexander. “I have suffered hardships, but I think it’s part of my destiny, because that’s what made me stronger. That’s what made me more adaptable,” says Kim. When her husband, who wouldn’t let her drive, died, Kim learned to drive, despite being scared. She has been going through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. After four years of saving money and navigating government bureaucracy, on August 9, Kim passed her test and became a citizen of this country. At the same time, she volunteers with the Vietnamese community and at her church. She helps elderly Vietnamese members navigate forms and paperwork for things like housing, and acts as an interpreter.
Most recently, Kim started her MBA program at Western Governor’s University and is committed to completing the program in only one year. Traditionally, the program takes two years to complete, but Kim is dedicated and determined to finish in one. Before coming to Warren Village, Kim did not have much hope of starting her education here in Colorado. She never had the money, and didn’t have the confidence in her English language skills. “When I came to Warren Village, it was all about education,” she remembers. Workforce Development Manager Allison encouraged Kim to apply for the MBA program, despite all of Kim’s misgivings. “They trusted me more than I trusted myself,” she says. Warren Village Family Services staff helped Kim with everything from signing up for courses to filling out FAFSA forms. She was even selected to receive two scholarships from organizations with which Warren Village connected her. After she finishes her program next summer, Kim hopes to get an internship at Amazon in the IT department., which will hopefully lead to a full-time position, which, in turn, will allow her and Alex to move into their own home.
Over the last nearly two years, Warren Village has been a comfortable place filled with support for Kim and Alexander. Her Family Advocate Stacy is understanding, and, in Kim’s words, “like Google. They know everything. You just have to email them.” Kim found value in Life Skills classes that focused on financial management, parenting, and time management. Alexander has formed strong relationships in the Early Learning Center after-school and summer programs. His teachers from last year still go out of their way to talk with him when they see him around the building.
Kim has her eye on her endgame goals. She hopes to get that internship and then job at Amazon, sponsor her mother to come to Colorado from Vietnam, and have a stable job. “I hope that I can build my family, and then have a house with my small yard with a garden,” she says. Alexander will start second grade at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, and is in the gifted and talented program at school. His favorite subjects are reading, math, and gym. He thinks his mom is a great cook, and loves that she signs him up for karate and swimming classes. Kim is incredibly proud of Alexander and his accomplishments and growth. She is also proud of herself for all the work she has done to further her education, especially when it comes to her good grades and the scholarships she has earned. “I can do it,” she says confidently. “It’s hard, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.”
Support Warren Village residents like Kim and Alexander as they pursue their dreams, build community, and work to achieve economic independence and disrupt systems of poverty.