Carolyn Bogott: Committed to supporting our children

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, July 4, 2023

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Kim Potter is committed to the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community, those aged from birth to three,  who are born with challenges.  

She is a school district member assigned to follow up on any referrals from parents, childcare workers, physicians, or others who express concerns about a baby’s development. Arranging an appointment to see the parents and child in their home for a screening is the next step.  

For this age group, if there is one area of concern shown from this screening process, the family can choose to proceed with more questionnaires and evaluations. Then Kim sets out a plan for intervention. 

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She brings plans, games, and materials to the parents and childcare providers for their use in working with the child to overcome developmental delays. This requires a lot of experience and creativity on her part to find the methods that will best serve in their specific setting. She emphasizes that most of the work is done by the parents. She herself may only work with the child one hour per week.  

A big part of her work is listening to parents and supporting their efforts. One of her most satisfying times is when parents realize that they are making a difference and their child is making good progress. On the other hand, a heart-wrenching time is when some new parents must come to the realization that their child’s delay may be lifelong.

Most children can make good progress and Kim keeps a “graduation wall” filled with photos of those children who no longer need specific services.

Validating that the parents have made the difference and seeing that the family feel complete are among the high points for Kim.

“Kim Potter is a passionate advocate for ensuring that students receive the support and services they need to thrive,” said Jen Lawhead, Community Education director. 

As you might guess, this work is very taxing, involving long hours and lots of emotional energy. This intelligent and wise woman has found another passion which brings her joy and helps to keep balance in her life. She has loved music performance from childhood and, in fact, completed a music minor in college with her elementary education degree. She has more recently become involved in drama in Austin with Matchbox Children’s Theatre Riverland, and Summerset Theatre. Her older daughter loved being in plays at Ellis Middle School and was very disappointed when there was no program at Austin High School. 

So, with support from others in the local drama community, and permission from her daughter, Kim put herself forward to resurrect the drama program at AHS for the 2022-23 school year. Kim says she sensed a real hunger on the part of the students to have social interaction in a safe setting. Twenty-five students remained active and engaged in drama club even after their successful production of “Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone” was over. They love drama games and improvisational exercises, tech tools, and learning from each other how to portray a character.  They are already excited about working on next year’s production. 

It is clear that Kim has excellent people skills, is extraordinarily perceptive, and is very direct in her communication. This serves her well both in her early childhood job and in working with teens. She wants the best for those with whom she interacts, having high expectations, but also “having the back” of families and children she serves, as well as the drama club members. 

Thank you, Kim Potter,  for your inspired work in our community.

For more information about the Austin Branch of AAUW, contact Sue Grove  or Carolyn Bogott  The American Association of University Women, now AAUW, is open to anyone who has completed a two-year degree or beyond.  AAUW welcomes men who support our objectives and there are student memberships available. AAUW has been empowering women since 1881.  We support equity and education for women.  Scholarships are offered, as well as help in litigation in cases dealing with sex discrimination.  We are the most important and highly respected research and lobbying organization dealing with women’s issues such as equal opportunity and job equality.