Kimberly Horton, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for Mercy Hospitals of Bakersfield, believes that life's trials can be either obstacles or stepping stones, depending on how you look at them. "I chose to make mine stepping stones," she says.
As a single mother at age 19 with two small children, she decided she needed to provide them a solid foundation to be successful in their lives. So, she went back to school at Bakersfield College to receive her nursing degree.
"Sometimes there was only enough food for either them or me," she says. "They got full and I went to bed hungry."
She went on to receive her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing, along with certifications as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, and a nurse paralegal. She is currently completing her doctorate in healthcare administration.
|"This song reminds us of what God really is..."|
As a role model for single and teenage mothers, she encourages them to pursue their dreams and life goals. "Set your path and go. There will always be something that comes up, and you say, 'I can't do this.' Nothing will stop you unless you say it will." Kim advises young mothers. "No one can take away your power, you give it to them."
In addition to her accomplishments as a healthcare executive and nurse, Kim recently added recording artist to her life's experiences. Her first CD, "Music From My Heart," features her songs performed at various concerts and churches throughout California. Her performances also include a guest appearance at the Crystal Cathedral. Her breakout song, "Beautiful," helped to set the tone and inspire her success while recording the other songs on her CD. "This song reminds us of what God really is and conveys how I feel about Him," she says.
In her current position with Mercy Hospitals, Kim has found many ways to enhance the educational opportunities within the community. The Catherine McAuley Society, a philanthropic organization named for the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, funded Kim's proposal to award scholarships for single mothers studying to become nurses. She also secured a grant from the California Endowment for cultural diversity training for health care providers. The training focuses on the uniqueness of the person – life experiences, familial information, generation, socioeconomics, etc.
|"The things about us that are obvious don't make us who we are. It's those other factors and their percentage of influence that influences us,"|
"The things about us that are obvious don't make us who we are. It's those other factors and their percentage of influence that influences us," she says. "This training is a chance to step away from the labels and get to know the person."
Kim says her greatest accomplishment in life is her family. She has two grown children, Brian and Teasha, and enjoys spending time with her five grandchildren. When talking about her husband of seven years, she says, "Steve is a breath of fresh air. He renewed in me the faith in relationships."
Vegetarian Chili Beans
(Yield 11˝ Cups)
2 T olive oil
2 c yellow onions, chopped
1/3 c green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 T chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 pkg (12 oz) meatless burger crumbles
15 oz Westbrae pinto beans(with liquid)
1 can red kidney beans(with liquid)
1 can black beans(with liquid)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/3 c tomato paste
3 T mild green chilies, chopped
tofu sour cream (optional)
fresh cilantro garnish
In a large pan over low heat warm the oil. Add onions, green peppers and garlic. Saute, stirring until onions are soft. Add the seasonings and saute, stirring 2 minutes. Add meatless crumbles, stirring 2 minutes more. Add canned products and bring to a boil. Simmer. Top each bowl with tofu, sour cream and cilantro.