Kim is a wife, mother of two boys, Air Force Veteran, and breast cancer survivor who enjoys spending her time in the community. She serves as a PTO President, Parent Advisory and School Improvement Council Representative, Friends of the Sandhill Children’s Garden board member, USO Ambassador at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, and is a ten-year member of the Junior League of Columbia.
Today we’re going to chat about community and volunteering. Volunteering doesn’t have to be challenging. What I’ve learned from Kim is that all you need is the willingness to participate and to keep an open mind. There are plenty of opportunities to help around the community.
How do you accomplish your morning routine and get ready for your busy days?
I’m a planner! I rely heavily on my iCal app to see what’s coming up and try to stay ahead on anything that needs preparation, especially with special events! This looks like keeping my schedule clear the night before anything important, preparing an outfit in advance, and setting the children up for a successful morning by double-checking lunches, chargers, etc. Putting in a little bit of advanced effort and waking up earlier makes a world of difference.
How did you get involved in the community?
When we moved to Columbia 13 years ago. I was trying to find ways to fit in and meet people. As a military spouse, I would attend base events. I also joined a local mom’s group. Participation with both of these organizations helped me to create friendships, build confidence, and feel more connected. I started to think creatively about how I could find opportunities to help that were closer to me. Subscribing to emails, liking Facebook pages and browsing events have made it much easier to find ways to stay involved.
Why did you start volunteering?
You just never know how deep your impact can be. Your hour of service may be the catalyst for real change in someone’s life.
I’ve been at both ends, as a recipient and volunteer, and it’s blessed me with a valuable perspective about compassion, empathy, and kindness. I was active in volunteering before surviving breast cancer, but that experience really impacted how I view time as a gift. How am I spending that extra time, how can I use my talents? Who did I need when I was younger? These are questions I think about often. My advice to someone who wants to start volunteering is to find something that you’re passionate about and think of ways to add value.
What is the biggest obstacle you encountered while volunteering?
When the boys were younger, my biggest challenge was finding childcare while I would volunteer. Relying on help from your partner, family, and friends, is key. My modern take involves putting yourself out there; remember that others are there for the same purpose. During the height of the pandemic, I became a teacher, started working at an airport, and worked an election as a Poll Manager for Richland County. Some of my best experiences and greatest friendships have come from pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
I take a thoughtful approach to what I give my time to. I work on projects for non-profits while our children are at school, or look for ways to involve them. We have annual volunteering commitments, like delivering meals through Senior Resources and sorting food for Harvest Hope that allow them to participate. I’m passionate about art, food, and fashion, and I’m always scanning local resources like Columbia Mom and Cola Today to look for ways to expose our boys to more culture.
Any advice on keeping your marriage fun and romantic with the mini me’s running around?
Marriage is a living, breathing thing. Investing your time in each other, sharing your passions, and communicating is so important. We like making time to check out new restaurants, taking tours with Historic Columbia, and supporting small businesses around town. Staying at Hotel Trundle and waking up to browse the Soda City Market is one of my favorite staycations. We booked with Picnic Pop-Up SC for a lunch event at Magnolia Way Venue last Fall and it was such a fun experience. The magic comes from those adventures; never stop looking for ways to create them!
You’re known for exploring different places around Columbia. What are some of your favorites for hanging out with friends?
We’re lucky to live in an area that always has something going on! Hunter-Gatherer is one of my favorites; enjoying your meal in the transformed Curtiss-Wright Hangar is so cool! I love the scenic drive to Camden for brunch at the Loopy Lemon, and shopping at Pink Stable. We like attending events at Main Course and checking out the unique art at Immersion. We always look forward to festivals at the Hampton-Preston mansion, dining experiences at City Roots, and events at 701 Whaley.
If I can’t find a unique event to go to, I’ll create my own. We’ve had so much fun over the years showing up to places around town for 80’s night, Golden Girls bingo, tacky sweater parties, and more. Many of my friends are also drawn to community service. I think that’s really important, they say you’re a reflection of the relationships you keep. I’m very fortunate to have such a caring group of gals to enjoy our city with!
You can connect with Kim on Instagram @tanavestoogood
Moms to See in the 803 is a series highlighting local moms who are making a difference in our community or in business. Want to tell us about an inspiring mom who is doing something great? Send us an email!