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Q&A With Kimberly Schmit

Kimberly Schmit, MEd is Project Coordinator for University Neighborhood Partners-Hartland Partnership Center.

Kim is responsible for coordinating the UNP-Hartland Partnership Center at the University of Utah. She spends most of her time engaging with the Resident Committee, community partners, and University of Utah faculty and students to ensure a sustainable, comprehensive educational program that is driven by reciprocal learning and is in response to resident-identified strengths and needs.

In May of 2007 Kim received her MEd from the Department of Education, Culture and Society at the University of Utah, where she focused her studies on culturally appropriate curriculum for people who have been through the refugee experience and socially just techniques for community empowerment. Kim’s past work experiences include directing Higher Ground Learning, program directing at Spy Hop Productions and co-running Wasatch Dance Collective.

Most recently, Kim went with a team of professors and community workers to the Thai/Burma border where she engaged in research focused on developing appropriate programming in Salt Lake City, for people from Burma who have been through the refugee experience.

This month, Kim gave us a peek into her life for our exclusive MamaVote Q&A.

Link to: http://www.partners.utah.edu/

Why politics/government/community/non-profit?

The community is some place where we all work, live, go to school and get to know one another. If we work to connect our communities we are enhancing so many facets of our lives and society.

What two or three things can every mom do to make a difference locally and nationally?

This is challenging for me to answer, because I am not a mother and cannot presume to know what mother’s should do. However, when I think about raising children I think about the importance of creating open spaces for dialogue with my children and hopefully creating an example that shows the incredible benefits of being civically engaged.

What is the issue that you think mothers can have the most effect on?

Education.

What issue(s) should mothers be keeping a better watch on?

I think that mothers already do so much and I would argue that rather than them needing to do more, we need to do a better job of recognizing what they do.

What is your favorite lipstick?

No-lipstick!

One piece of advice you’ve found useful on your way to where you are now?

I once spent time with a group of indigenous Indian, farmers in Guatemala. They had developed a project that worked towards planting trees to counter the devastating negatives of deforestation rampant in the area. The leader of the group told me about how one day another man in the community had walked by and shouted to him, “You should be home with your family. Why are you doing this on weekends?” He had responded, “I am doing this for your children’s children.” I will never forget this statement as it spoke volumes to sustainability and vision!

What is the first thing you sacrifice in a time crunch?

During a busy time (all the time!) the first thing to go is my hair. That is why it is so long. Never time to get it cut!

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

I really don’t believe in this concept.

What was one thing your mother/father/parents did (or didn’t do) that you are grateful for?

My mother taught me that young people have rights. At an early age she taught me to speak up and exercise those rights. My dad taught me that listening is one of the most important things you can learn how to do.

What is your favorite word?

Scrumptious.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I would like to co-operate a bookmobile in rural areas of the world. Ideally, I would work to do this with local community members and have books available in many languages.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

A lawyer.

What do you believe makes a successful life?

Committing to yourself and your community.

What makes you laugh?

When I am sitting at work at the UNP Hartland Partnership Center and hear six languages being spoken at once and everyone understands one another! IT IS POSSIBLE.

How do you deal with stress?

I find ways to gain perspective. I take time to be in the mountains, to do yoga and to slow down.

What is your favorite quote or motto?

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us walk together…”
— Lila Watson, Australian Aboriginal woman, in response to mission workers

What was your first job?

When I was 16 years old I finished high school and went to work as a cashier at Taco Bell in Fargo, North Dakota, as I was saving money to move to Chicago to dance. There was an advertisement campaign that involved the old cartoon character, Bullwinkle, so I had to wear a hat with antlers. Many of my friends from school would come to the restaurant during lunch and there I would be serving them with antlers on my head!

What is one thing you would like to be remembered for?

I would like to be known as someone who was committed to growing and learning.

What would you say to other women/mothers to inspire them to get involved in the political process?

Involvement is an investment in ourselves, our children and our future.

What is the hardest thing about your job?

Working to develop a culture that “works and talks with people” not “works and talks about people”. This is also the most important thing I do.

What makes your job most worth it?

IT IS SO WORTH IT! The relationships that develop with the people I work with. When a relationship moves from a “work relationship” to a friendship.

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