Myoung Hee Kim, a Seven Hills mother of two, is living proof that determination, strength and unconditional love can overcome the challenges often associated with having a disability.
As the carer of her autistic son, Daniel, for the past 27 years, Ms Kim has been the rock supporting and encouraging her son’s artistic development.
Myoung Hee Kim with her NSW Carer Award (centre).
Now an established artist, Daniel was the recipient of an AMP arts grant for talented Australians and has had his work exhibited at several shows. In acknowledgment for her tireless dedication in supporting her son, Ms Kim was recognised with a 2015 NSW Carers Award, presented by Member for Seven Hills Mark Tayloron Thursday, November 5.
Ms Kim said the situation at home had become particularly difficult after her husband suffered a stroke three years ago, which left him with on-going health issues. As she became anxious about her family’s future and how to support her son through his autism, Ms Kim turned to Ability Links NSW for help.
Ability Links NSW, through coordinators known as Linkers, supports people with disability, their carers and families. Linkers leverage their knowledge of the local area to help people plan for their future by accessing resources available in their community.
After assessing Ms Kim’s situation, local SSI Linker Amita Lama suggested visiting Family Advocacy, an organisation that specialises in helping people in the same situation. After a few meetings with them, she felt ready to set up her own “Circle of Support”, a series of meetings with relatives, family friends, two of Daniel’s art teachers and a neighbour who aimed to create a support network to help people with disability, in this case Daniel, to achieve a better life.
The first Circle of Support meeting was held in early September and was a success, leaving Ms Kim with the feeling that both she and Daniel now had a larger support network and were less lonely in their journey, she said.
This work that went above and beyond to improve Daniel’s life led to Ms Kim being nominated by Settlement Services International (SSI) Linker Cecilia Jeongmin Park for the Carer award after the two met at a Korean Carer’s group.
“She is very warm-hearted and loves to help others all the time,” Ms Park said.
“I nominated here because she has always seen positiveness and strength in her son and never misses any small good point in him. Her open and positive mind found her son's talent in arts and then she has been doing her best to find the way to develop his talent.”
When presenting the 2015 NSW Carer’s Award, Seven Hills MP Mr Taylor showed great interest in Daniel’s ’s paintings and in getting to know more about Ms Kim’s story.