I have an inspirational friend whose name is Kim Hinkle. She and I met for breakfast recently because I wanted to learn more about the challenges she’s facing in keeping the non-profit she founded financially adrift.
If you are unfamiliar with the name, Kim is the CEO of Kyle’s Place, a homeless shelter for teenagers that serves Denton County. She isn’t new to this population, Kim has been working with the adolescents in our area for the past fourteen years. She first co-founded a well-known program called Journey to Dream which offers assemblies to students in LISD and surrounding areas. Her second and current calling is Kyle’s Place.
Kim is the most sincere, tender-hearted woman (on a mission) I know. Her desire to bring unconditional love and basic needs to a population of kids others have forgotten or have decided to throw away is admirable. But her heart and her perseverance aren’t enough to continue to keep the doors of Kyle’s Place open.
Though the need for assistance is much greater, Kyle’s Place houses 4-8 teens a night, providing them with shelter, clothing, food, and guidance rooted in unconditional love and understanding.
The kids who arrive at Kyle’s Place do so because they have been rejected by their family and have nowhere else to go.
Ever optimistic, Kim was quick to share with me her favorite success story… a young man named David* who was abandoned years ago by his mother. For years David’s aunt had tried to raise him, but the relationship was dysfunctional and abusive. David ended up at Kyle’s Place last fall at age seventeen; he was 6’3” and suffered with anger issues in large part due to the trauma he’d experienced in his life.
Shortly after David arrived at Kyle’s Place there was an incident where he threw a bed across the room. His behavior had gotten to a point where some of the staff were concerned for their safety and the Board was strongly considering removing David from the shelter. Because the site supervisor, Izell Bennett, didn’t want to give up on him and believed in David’s potential to turn himself around, he approached Kim and the Board with a plea to let David stay a little longer.
David was put through a psychological evaluation that showed he was bipolar and suffered from anxiety and depression. He was given medication and through the guidance and nurturing offered by the staff at Kyle’s Place, David slowly but steadily made changes and his mood quickly improved.
Throughout the months David’s grades improved and he began to come out of his angry shell and to reach out to help others in the shelter. Over time his anger turned into happiness. Kim tearfully reports David recently graduated from high school, has a job, is on his way to trade school and has even been able to (through the help and guidance at Kyle’s Place) acquire a car.
“It’s a place for second, third, and fourth chances.” Kim says, she has great faith that God will find a way to continue to allow the positive work of Kyle’s Place to continue.
“Our greatest need is to build our base of Dream Makers. Individuals committing to $50 to $100 a month or churches and companies committing to $500 a month… though every single gift makes an impact.”
Are you someone who could help a young person like David to be given a second chance? If not you, then who? We need inspiring people working for others in our community and my friend Kim Hinkle is a terrific example of a leader we can all learn from.
*name changed to protect identity