By Kelsey Buckner
Kim Gomez was happy and in her element on one of the hottest summer days in Dallas. After she prepared to feed the children lunch at Simari Ridge Apartments, she escaped the heat and sat down to talk about her profound love for volunteering.
From 1989 to 1991, Gomez lived at Buckner Children’s Home in Dallas until her mother was able to take care of her again. She said although it was an adjustment for her, she enjoyed everything about her temporary home except visiting the campus dentist. During that time she met her future husband, a fellow Buckner resident. They married in 1996.
When Gomez and her family moved to Simari Ridge Apartments in 2011, she and her husband heard about the on-site after-school program and decided to enroll their two youngest daughters. To their surprise, they learned the program is headed by Buckner. Now, Gomez is one of the apartment complex’s most reliable volunteers, giving her time to the after-school program, the elderly and to any community events where help is needed.
Omar Solcruz, apartment manager at Simari Ridge, said after getting to know her for three years, he thinks Gomez is one of a kind.
“She’s one of my best residents,” Solcruz said. “She’s involved in almost every aspect of our community. She comes to crime watch meetings, she does the food program and her girls are involved in the after-school program with Mr. Spencer [Watkins, lead life skills specialist for Buckner at Simari Ridge]. It seems like if there is any kind of community event, she and her family are always involved – I am very grateful.”
Gomez humbly expressed why she puts a lot of her time into volunteering.
“It makes me feel warm inside because it makes me feel like I’ve actually done something to help a kid move forward,” she said. “A lot of them don’t feel confident in themselves, and maybe they just need an extra helping hand, a smile, a hello or something just to get them feeling warm and mushy inside.”
Volunteering opened her eyes to new lessons which she chose to teach her three daughters. She said it inspires her to give her kids a better life and teach them to give to others and to be thankful for what they have.
She said her favorite thing about volunteering is meeting people and providing others with things she didn’t have growing up. The future looks bright for Gomez and those who are blessed to benefit from her selfless actions.
“All the memories I have are all special to me in why I do what I do. I know I don’t have to do it, but I do it just to be doing it – it’s just me,” Gomez said. “If I didn’t do it, I’d feel bad about not trying to help somebody the way I could.”
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