Kimberly Carpenter, 45, of New York had always been a beacon of light in her community . It was true before a tragic domestic violence incident rendered her a paraplegic in 2010 and it is still true today as she is learning to live with her disability.
Kimberly’s life changed forever on October 1st 2010 when she was shot in the back by her estranged husband who, in turn, committed suicide. A week earlier, she had summoned the courage to file for divorce. Never did she imagine that this step would ultimately cause her life to be altered in such a profound way.
“I was in the hospital from early October to just before Christmas. I had been shot four times. It took some time for me to realize exactly what had happened. The medical staff and my family did not want me to get upset and interrupt my recovery.” When asked what got her through those dark days, Kimberly is quick to answer, “My faith in God and my family, particularly my sister, aunt and nephew, motivated me to leave the shooting in the past and look to the future.”
Kimberly then explains “My short term goals were to get through my surgeries (Doctor had to perform operations that would remove the bullets that were still embedded in Kimberly’s body) and to sit up…ultimately, I wanted to return to my role as head of the household”. Kimberly had lost both of her parents earlier in life and was considered a mentor to her younger family members, especially her teenaged nephew Carlos and baby goddaughter Jayliyah. “What hurt most was not being there for them.”
As she rehabilitated her injury, Kimberly recalled how much she enjoyed working as a Youth Program Coordinator to tweens(children aged 5 to 12) for the Broome County Urban League and made a vow to herself that she would continue helping young people. “I have always worked with children and wanted to do that again”. She was recently asked to act as a Life Coach to a local program called Bold and Beautiful. Kimberly shared a bit about her new role “Bold and Beautiful is a program that embraces the idea that beauty comes in all forms and that inner beauty is most important. As a Life Coach, I will help mentor the young ladies who participate in the program”
“I tell others that if I can find joy, they can find joy,” Kimberly explains before going on to express her gratitude to the Travis Roy Foundation for presenting her with a grant that purchased a laptop computer. Compact and lightweight, the laptop can be used with ease while Kimberly attends college classes, communicates with friends online and utilizes the laptop’s many applications. Kimberly jokes “It has so many apps, I don’t know where to begin” . Ultimately, Kimberly hopes to literally put the laptop to work by finding a job where she can telecommute from home.
“I am so grateful to the Travis Roy Foundation…to the people who take the time to help and to support such a giving organization. After all of this, I can say that I have finally found peace in my life. I am so thankful”