Scholarship donor Kim Matar lives in Columbia, TN, with her rescue dog, Cassidy, after relocating from Colorado Springs, CO, following the death of her husband Rick in 2018. Her parents, Ellis and Frankie Pitman, long-time volunteers with Extreme Response, live nearby.
Kim Matar hasn’t yet visited the Fish Hoek Dream Center, but that hasn’t stopped her from investing in the future of the vulnerable kids by funding a scholarship. Below Kim shares how the Dream Center impacts the kids, their families and herself.
Q. How did you first learn about the Fish Hoek Dream Center?
A. Through an ER conference in Florida and Ron and Amy Townsend (co-directors).
Q. What do you like most about the Dream Center after-school programming?
A. The private Facebook updates Amy and the team post provide a captivating window. I really like that team members know, love and appreciate the kids’ unique – sometimes quirky – personalities. They receive personalized attention for their learning needs to help them succeed in school, regardless of their respective family or social situations. The DC is fun, yet offers discipline. Each child’s birthday is celebrated and they participate in contests and competitions that reinforce learning. I also like the ongoing investment in facilities because it shows the Center is both a physical and psychological safe haven for the kids.
“I believe education is the greatest stepping stone to enhancing a child’s life…”
Q. Why do you invest in scholarships?
A. I believe education is the greatest stepping stone to enhancing a child’s life, not only because of the personal skills acquired, but because education offers insight that one’s current circumstances do not have to be limited or repeated for generations. I cannot imagine what life would be like not being able to read or do math or have the social skills to interact with my neighbors. I believe a scholarship provides a “leg up” to help children conquer obstacles they may not feel equipped to handle otherwise. Scholarships tell parents that “your child is important!”
Q. What is your hope for the future the Dream Center kids?
A. My hope is that each child who has been a part of the Dream Center has the foundation to go to the “next thing” – secondary school, trade school or university – and believes in themselves; believes success and accomplishment are foregone conclusions rather than unfulfilled longings; and can look back at their time at the Dream Center and know they were loved by the team and by God Himself. They are fearfully and wonderfully made by God who has great plans for them.
Q. What special experiences have you gained through the Dream Center?
A. I love the success stories of the kids who start the year at one place and finish at a place beyond their imaginations. These stories delight me, bless me and encourage me to participate in their lives vicariously through the communications of the Townsends and other staff members.