Middle & High School Program
YOU Are Valuable
Imagine the gut-dropping feeling of being told that if you survive, you may never walk again. This is what the doctors told Kim Penny after a devastating snow tubing accident in the backcountry of the San Juan Mountains. But after years of emotional and physical turmoil, with the help of a great support system consisting of family and other mentors, she not only walks again but climbs mountains both literally and figuratively. She motivates students by showing them how to overcome their own seemingly impossible obstacles.
“I didn’t walk through my recovery alone, but I did have to take the first step.”
Through her personal story of recovery and triumph, Kim teaches students how not to allow their fears and self-doubt overshadow the positive things in their lives. She encourages empathy by sharing about friends lost to suicide, helping students understand how to get outside of their own problems and recognize the pain in others. Lastly, she demonstrates that while everyone has experienced some level of emotional or physical pain, no one needs to be alone – that there is help out there via mentors and others who care.
Students will learn how to:
Recognize that EVERYONE faces trials – no one is perfect and we don’t need to feel ashamed when life is tough
Keep fear from controlling their thoughts and emotions
Take baby-steps to work through pain and achieve their goals
Get outside of their own pain and show empathy towards others
Find a mentor to speak openly and honestly with about their thoughts and emotions
Kim grew up in Lawrence, Kansas and attended the University of Nebraska on a cheerleading scholarship. She married her husband Jon and they moved to Durango, Colorado where she settled into a career in Real Estate and Finance. One year into her marriage, the accident occurred. Through the trauma, she learned to value those who supported her, and when none of her worst fears were realized, she learned to live with a grateful heart and focus on the blessings that life offers. These are messages she now shares with her teen audiences.
Kim was able to continue her work in Real Estate and Finance, but after mourning alongside close friends and family - losing loved ones to suicide - she felt compelled to take a step back from her career and share her own personal story of overcoming heartache and trauma. Her goal is to encourage students to focus on the hope that lies ahead and not on their temporary brokenness. She published her memoir Mountain View in July 2017.
When she is not speaking, you can find her skiing and mountain biking with her twin daughters in Durango, Colorado.
“Our staff and students want to give you one more big thank you! You had a powerful message that struck home with our students. We wish you the best and good luck in all your future adventures. “
KIM, high school counselor, Aztec, NM
"Kim's message truly allowed for students to speak up about their feelings, as well as hard seasons or times of life. It's difficult to find an environment where students are willing to discuss these hard topics, and emotional issues, but Kim created that environment."
SHANELLE, youth director
"I highly recommend Kim to speak at any event. She is passionate and personable. Two of the key things that drew our students to talk openly about what has been going on in their OWN lives. Everyone needs to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The kids would have her back in a heartbeat."
REBEKAH, youth director
Not all who wander are lost
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