GREENVILLE — Hometown girl Kim Wilson has come back to Greenville and is the new Darke County Community Action Partnership (CAP) director, succeeding Janey Christman, who recently retired from the position after 40 years of service to the agency.
“I have big shoes to fill,” said Wilson, whose appointment became effective on Friday. “Janey’s a big institution here.”
Born in Michigan and raised in Greenville from the age of 1, she brings to the agency a wide range of experience in social work, children’s services and corrections in multiple counties in Ohio. She has worked with Community Action agencies and referred customers to them.
“Did I know what Community Action Agencies were? Yes. Did I know what their goals were? Yes,” she said.
Kim has been at the Darke County agency in Greenville for a few weeks, familiarizing herself with the operations and working with Christman.
“I’m thankful that she’s around to help me transition,” said Wilson.
Does she have plans to change anything?
“The staff morale here is great. There’s such a spirit of cooperation,” Wilson replied. “Why would I change something like that? I just want to carry that forward. I tend to look for the good in everybody. My philosophy is ‘the answer is always no unless you ask.’”
However, she does plan to meet with each employee one-on-one and get their input.
Wilson is glad to be back in her hometown and serving her community. Her hometown friends have been helping her settle in again. She recently became engaged and looks forward to her fiancé, George Hupp, joining her in Greenville soon.
“You can take the girl out of Greenville but you can’t take Greenville out of the girl,” said Wilson, who was active in tennis, orchestra and Spanish club when in high school. “I’m here for the fair, Maid-Rites and Annie Oakley Days.”
Having resided in Marysville, she earned her bachelor’s of psychology in 1990 from Miami University and worked for children’s services from 1990-2002; in Van Wert for four years and Union County for seven years. She then graduated in 2002 with a master’s in social work at Ohio State University and took a job as supervisor of intake in a community-based correctional facility.
From 2002-14, she also supervised a re-entry department at the facility, making sure they had a good, stable re-entry plan place to go back into a community.
Eventually, she decided to pursue another career path.
“In November 2014, I worked as an evidence-based practice coach for Delaware County Adult Probation Department,” said Wilson, a 1985 Greenville High School graduate.
“I got hired in a grant and it ended, then I learned about his opening through Janey’s son, John John,” Wilson said. “We knew each other in school and would see each other at reunions. He said I should apply for the job and I did and here I am. I called Janey and met with her and applied online for the job. I knew what Community Action did because I referred clients to local Community Action agencies. I’m a social worker and I like to help people changes their lives. I will take Janey’s accomplishments and just take them forward.”
She said she was at CAP at 3 p.m on a Friday and President/CEO Tim Donnellan called her Monday morning at 7:30 and told her she was hired.
Wilson is the daughter of the late Gene and Wendy Wilson. Her father was a real estate appraiser and her mother a nurse. She also has a brother Mike, who graduated in 1987.
She enjoys traveling and taking cruises and she said she is getting involved in adult coloring books with intricate patterns and prints.
“It’s real therapeutic,” she said.
Christman finished up her 40 years with the agency on Friday.
“It seems like only yesterday that I began by volunteering in a seniors’ program,” she said. “To be able to move up the ranks and serve as Darke County director has been an honor and a privilege. I am grateful for the kind words people have said to me as I finish my career. However, it’s not about me. I have had a wonderful staff that has kept me going over the years. Our board of trustees have also been supportive of and dedicated to our mission.”
She went on, “The agency’s fiscal department, led by my fellow retirees Steve Pipenger and Nancy Swabb, also helped keep me on track over the years. The guidance, support and dedication they provide our entire agency is outstanding. I’m also appreciative of the support of our Tim Donnellan. He always encouraged me to try new things. He backed me through building demolitions and many other projects that I wasn’t sure would succeed. He always told me that if we fail, we can try again. We have had successes. Establishing Greenville Transit and managing the Fox Run and Willow Place apartments are two of them. We’ve worked hard to bring dollars to Darke County to support the many needs in our community.”
Christman concluded, “All of us in Community Action have that special fulfillment of knowing you’ve helped someone. I know our staff, led by our new director, Kim Wilson, will continue their tireless efforts to help people and change lives in Darke County. It has been a pleasure working with you and serving you. I thank you for your support of our agency and wish you all the best in 2016 and beyond.”