There’s an angel in Newburgh in an empty school.
The Indianapolis Colts and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield are honoring everyday heroes at each home game. And Sunday, a Tri-State hero will get the thrill of a lifetime.
Kim Derk has been helping kids for the last decade. She gives hope to families and makes children’s futures a little brighter. She and her Lifesong Academy are being recognized by the Colts as an Anthem Angel.
“It makes me very very humble and shy,” says Derk in the halls of her quiet school. It’s a Saturday and the kids are home. But usually her Academy is buzzing with kids in need. She is the the Colts’ angel performing miracles.
Derk says a big portion of why they do it is to make sure that other families don’t go through what they went through. Kim and her eight children – six of them adopted from Hungary – have been dealing with neuro-behavioral issues since 2003. But through Lifesong Academy she’s making a difference her her kids lives, and in the lives of more than 200 others.
Kim works with kids who suffer from autism, ADHD, and other social or communication problems. She says the key is to get to them early, “If you have early enough training you can actually make a big difference in their outcomes. And that’s where our big focus is right now. In every case that we’ve worked we have found that we can at least help them be much more independent.”
From shapes and colors, she has given so much to others, now the community is paying it back, and the Colts are rolling out the red carpet.
“We get to go up on the field for a little while so I get to take some of the kids with us including Cary who is a big portion of why Lifesong has been so successful.”
Kim’s son Cary says he wants to be just like him mom. He is a living reminder of what love and proper schooling can do for kids who need a little more attention. “Mom doesn’t think that stuff really does happen and I know it does,” says Cary, smiling about his mother’s honor.
He understands the challege the kids at Lifesong go through. He was with them years ago, “Well, it’s hard to move from something that you’re so used to and then just change; just staying at home. Then I come here and there’s a whole bunch of people wanting to talk and stuff.”
Before Lifesong Academy opened in 2012, Kim says the Evansville area didn’t have the resources kids needed. She is the area’s first board certified behavior analyst.
“If they’re able to be adults and go on to have normal kinds of adults things that all of us deal with then it means we were successful.”