Hometown Holiday Helpers: Brent and Leo’s Pick

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 4:20 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2021 at 4:24 PM EST
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MONETA, Va. (WDBJ) - For the past 12 years, day in and day out, Kimberly Atwood has spent one-on-one time working with students at Moneta Elementary School.

“I started on the buses, and I moved up through the schools as a substitute, then I became a paraprofessional, helping other children with special needs,” describes Atwood.

Over the years she has earned a reputation for helping students build confidence and resilience at school, all while focusing on their abilities instead of their disabilities.

“Something as simple as calling them by name in the morning or a fist bump, just making sure their day goes as great as possible so they can focus on learning instead of their fears and anxieties.”

Kimberly knows all too well the anxieties that come along with raising children with special abilities.

“I have identical twin boys, Ben and Joey. Ben is legally blind and has cerebral palsy and uses a walker. Joey has some challenges when it comes to learning. My daughter Sophie was born with only one chamber of her heart. She has had three major open heart surgeries.”

Along with her three children, she was also a mother to her fiance’s son Robby who died from a lightning strike during a summer thunderstorm in 2014.

“My focus is on my family and God first. Meeting my children’s needs, being an advocate for them.”

Between work and home, you may wonder how she would have time to do anything else. However, Kimberly is just weeks away from getting her degree in psychology.

“Because of my children and to help family members I’ve had to take breaks from school. This is a huge milestone for me. This is going to show my kids, despite how difficult things can be, they can be successful if they apply themselves.”

When asked about what she’ll spend her $700 gift cards on, Kimberly mentioned her son has cracked his glasses and will need some repairs. Aside from the necessities, she also plans to get the teenagers a few gifts and give back to her school community that has been a big part of why she was nominated.

Watch for Hometown Holiday Helper segments on WDBJ7 each Wednesday at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and again during WDBJ7 Mornin’ on Thursdays.

Nominate someone who inspires you and who could use a $700 gift card from Your Hometown Station.

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