Kim Johnson Spearheads Promising St. Cloud Dreamline Program
Kim Johnson is as experienced as they come in the education field. She joined TSF in August to lead the blossoming Dreamline program in St. Cloud. Before this year, Dreamline coaches worked exclusively in the metro area. Johnson's official title with The Sanneh Foundation is the St. Cloud Dreamline Program Manager.
Marketing and Communications VISTA E.J. Stevens chatted with Johnson to see how her first four months as the St. Cloud Dreamline Program Manager have gone.
EJ: What did you do for work before taking on your current role as the St. Cloud Dreamline Program Manager?
Kim: I received my degree in education from St. Cloud State University and have done various jobs in the education field for the past 25 years. Most recently I was the Behavior Truancy Interventionist at Discovery Community School in Waite Park, MN.
EJ: Which of your values correlate with the values of the Dreamline program?
Kim: Being kind to others and leading from your heart. It doesn’t matter what your background is, you still have the capability of treating others with respect.
EJ: What has been your greatest challenge in your first months working with the St. Cloud Dreamline program?
Kim: I have gone from supervising students to supervising adults! Working with adults has it’s own challenges and I feel as though I have grown tremendously by listening to others perspectives.
EJ: What are the most rewarding aspects of working with the youth in St. Cloud?
Kim: Our Youth in St. Cloud are no different than youth in any other area. They have such honest responses and unique curiosities. I love when I see students who I have helped work through some difficult situations and they greet me with such appreciation. In the position I most recently had before TSF, I often had to help youth restore relationships with others and be firm about their negative behaviors. Even after that, to have students show me love is just the most gratifying feeling there possibly can be!
EJ: Why is it so important for kids to have great mentors and positive role models to learn from in their schools?
Kim: Some of our youth do not have positive role models in their lives and some of our youth have positive role models that just due to circumstances do not have enough time to spend with our youth. Our Dreamline coaches have an important role in that they have the opportunity to connect with these youth and show them they have someone that supports them and believes in them. It is important that our coaches help our youth open up their minds to all of the opportunities that are out there for them.
EJ: Since the Dreamline program in St. Cloud is still relatively new, how have the students embraced the mentors that have come to work with them in their schools?
Kim: When I walk into our schools in St. Cloud and see how our students and coaches are interacting, it is just beautiful! Our coaches are doing such an amazing job and we hear so many good things from staff in 742!
EJ: What are some methods you use to train the Dreamline coaches and bring them together?
Kim: Most recently we have focused on team building and sharing time together as a team. We have had many transitions with staff and we really just needed to get to know each other better. We spent a day doing some role plays with current situations in our schools and then sharing a meal and a fun activity.
EJ: As the Program Manager, what are some specific goals that you have for the program going forward?
Kim: Most importantly to have open communications with all of the 742 staff, so that any concerns can be addressed right away. We want to be a huge success this year, so the program can continue in St. Cloud. Now that we are finding our rhythm, we are going to be spending more time focusing on our enrichment activities and also the camps that we want to provide this summer.
The St. Cloud Dreamline Program is in great hands under the leadership of Kim Johnson. Her tremendous experience working with youth from diverse backgrounds and unwavering commitment to helping others reach their potential is essential to the success of TSF. Thanks for all you do, Kim!