Cast member, volunteer, life-rescuer. All words describing Kim Sims, whose first Disneyland Resort role in Outdoor Vending—after an unsuccessful parade performer audition—blossomed into a 35-year career. From her earliest days selling balloons on Main Street, U.S.A., Kim absolutely “fell in love with the place,” and even now as a Senior Security Manager, she continues finding ways to grow as a leader.
A few years ago, an unexpected opportunity to VoluntEAR at Chrysalis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable individuals find a pathway to stability, security, and fulfillment in their work and lives, aided in Kim’s development. It began with an invitation to attend a Disneyland Resort job fair, to offer Chrysalis clients suggestions to help prepare for potential opportunities and interviews. “I naively went over thinking I’m just going to go and I’m going to use some of my experience, and I’m going to relay that information, and the next thing I knew, I was volunteering there,” Kim said.
With a mission to serve people navigating barriers to the workforce, Chrysalis was founded in Los Angeles in 1984 and established its Anaheim center in 2018, thanks in large part to a cumulative $1 million donation from the Disneyland Resort. Kim (pictured above, volunteering prior to the pandemic) helps clients striving to find jobs after gaps in employment, whether due to incarceration, homelessness or other traumatic circumstances—coaching them through mock interviews, resume writing, and advising on their strengths and opportunities for improvement. The Anaheim location has now served more than 2,000 vulnerable individuals.
“I think things happen for reasons, and I really think that Chrysalis entered [my life] just at the right time,” said Kim of the dual impact that has strengthened her as a leader. “I can help my cast members better because Chrysalis gave me additional skills.”
For two clients in particular, she was the right person at the right time. One, a former race car driver, was struggling to put together his resume. Fortunately, Kim’s brothers are also race car drivers, providing a shared knowledge to help him articulate his skills. Another had recently lost their mother, like Kim herself, who could empathize.
“I think it’s fate that puts people in the same room at the same time that you can relate to,” Kim said. “My clients are getting jobs … and I get really excited when they do contact me and tell me that, because then you think, ‘Wow, you really did help somebody!’ and you can see the work you’ve done.”
Welcome to the blog Ms. Dani!