We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberly Vehon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimberly, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Foster Arizona started as an idea that, although one person cannot fix all the challenges that come with the world of foster care, one person could bring their skills, time, and influence to do something. That continues to be the most important factor behind our organization and any success we have. As we have grown and expand our supports and impact in the foster care community, it has only happened because more individuals from our community have stepped in bringing their skills, time, and influence.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There is something incredibly special about being given the gift of helping someone tell their story. Earlier in my career, I worked in local mega churches and found myself unexpectedly immersed in the video making process which naturally paired with telling stories. It is an honor to have someone trust you with their stories because our stories are part of the very fabric of who we are. Some stories are easier to tell than others. Sitting across the table from an adoptive family that has chosen to keep connections with their adoptive child’s birth family is easy to tell, Sharing the success of a young adult who was homeless and found not only stability but hope and relationship connections is easy to tell. What is harder to tell are the stories that do not yet have a happy ending or lean towards a strong idea of what the ending may be. It’s those moments when you are sitting across the table from a child who desperately wants a family and praying that our video will showcase the sparkle of who they are enough to draw attention from a family that could be their forever. It is a journey of joy when families are found and heartache for those still waiting. Along the way I have learned that our job as storytellers is to not write the story. It is simply to bring out the true essence of what already exists- helping others to be empowered to tell and share their stories along the way that is authentic to them; knowing we will be a safe place to support them on that journey. That is what makes us, our Foster Arizona team, special. We are not in the business of marketing people’s stories. We are in the business of empowering people to share their hearts with our community.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think one of the most unexpected things about Arizona is just how beautiful it is. My family spends a lot of time exploring the outdoors and I hope anyone visiting would enjoy experiencing it with us, One of my favorite valley hikes this past year was Lost Duchman’s State Park Treasure Loop Trail. There is a beautiful view of the valley and a great place to be around the end of the day to experience one of Arizona’s breathtaking sunsets. Afterwards, I would encourage anyone to stop into Red, White, and Brew to taste some delicious food and excellent service. Another thing our family enjoys is taking an opportunity to get out of the valley and experience another terrain. We are so lucky in Arizona to get the chance to be in so many different environments in such a short drive. This summer, our family got to spend time in Flagstaff checking out many of the Indian ruins and cliff dwellings. Walnut Canyon National Monument and Wupatki National Monument are kid friendly and an amazing way to connect to the rich history of Northern Arizona. After a hike, we like to eat Chick-fil- a, a staple in our family of 9, and head back to Wupatki National Monument parking lot to turn our eyes to the sky and see more stars in brilliant detail that are simply impossible to see outside a dark city like Flag. On a less active day, we’d stop at Odysea Aqarium and Butterfly Wonderland to interact with animals and experience some of their outdoor offerings before going to Venezia Pizza for some pizza (their cauliflower crust is excellent) and fried mac and cheese bites.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
With a full heart, I would like to thank every single person who has given Foster Arizona a shoulder to stand on. We only exist because this community has rallied behind the idea that, together, we can use our resources and influence to better the lives of kids in foster care.
Youtube: Foster Arizona
Other: Vimeo- @fosteraz