In life, I have learned that hope is found in unlikely places. Inspiration often comes not from those with the most power, but from the dreams and aspirations of everyday people who are anything but ordinary. Some of you know my story. Many of you don't, and I am not afraid to share it. Sharing is caring. I want to be as transparent as possible and as authentically me as I can be, and I am unapologetic about my truth.

The truth is, I was that little girl who grew up in circumstances that were out of my control. Since birth, I had to deal with the fact that my loving and caring father was serving a life sentence in prison. The only time I could see him was when Mr. Benson took my siblings and me down to Bonne Terre Correctional facility for visits. Those feelings of seeing my dad imprisoned hurt deeply. It wasn't until the age of 15 that I finally got relief, recognizing my dad’s freedom from bondage once he passed away.

The truth is, my biological mother fell victim to drug addiction and, to this day, she has never been a part of my life. I do, however, appreciate the fact that she chose to give me life.

The truth is, my grandmother was a prayer-warrior who raised us in a house on the 4000 block of Greer Avenue. At a young age, I learned why it is important to serve. I remember going to Reverend Mim's food pantry on Martin Luther King with my grandmother every Saturday to help bag and distribute food to families. My grandmother passed away and Reverend Mim's building no longer exists. I ride down Martin Luther King often and I look at the vacant lot of what used to be a building that served so many families.

The truth is, the woman I know as mom is actually my big cousin. She sacrificed so much to raise me as if I came from her womb. She fought to provide me with quality educational opportunities and gave me a better chance at life, for which I am eternally grateful.

The truth is, after college I struggled financially and experienced homelessness. I know firsthand what it feels like not to have a stable place to lay my head or food to eat.

The truth is that four years ago, my sister and I were driving on Kingshighway and our car was struck in a crossfire. What was supposed to be a casual sister outing for ice cream turned into an evening of trauma. Becoming a victim of gun violence was something that I never expected we’d experience.

The truth is, reflecting on some of the painful events of my past hurled me into a deep depression and I made the choice to seek professional help. During this time, the love and unwavering support from one of my residents, who I affectionately call TT, helped me persevere and continue on this journey called, life. All of these real-life experiences have shaped me into the person I am today.

The truth is, my 77th District family has rallied around me all of my life. They are the embodiment of what is meant by, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The 77th District has supported me in more ways than I can name, which is why I want to return that same level of love and support.

 

The truth is, the 77th District has fought for me time and again. I want to keep that same energy and fight for them. My complete truth is embodied when I say, “serving my community pumps the blood in my heart.”

Kimberly-Ann J. Collins

Kimberly-Ann Collins is 27 years of age and a Lifelong resident of the 77th District. She is a public health professional with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Sciences and a Minor of Arts in Chemistry. Although her background is in the public health field, her heart has always been with the community. 
Kimberly-Ann is tremendously involved throughout the entire 77th District. She organized and hosted the 1st Annual Stop the Violence Rally at Yeatman Middle School, organizes thanksgiving dinners, Christmas toy drives, and giveaways, grocery giveaways, held educational health seminars for Heart disease awareness and other health related issues, neighborhood leadership fellow cohort alumni, and helped organize pop up shelters throughout the district for the unhoused.
Kimberly-Ann serves as an executive board member for the Vile Collaborative group, board member for Yeatman Liddell Full Service School, 21st Ward Event Coordinator, secretary for the 77th District Legislative committee, member of Area E Federation of Block Unit, active member of the Penrose neighborhood association. 
Kimberly-Ann has spent her entire life putting others first. She works hands on everyday with people who come from all walks of life to help improve living and health conditions for all. Kimberly- Ann believes a public health approach is the best way to address our concerns and issues without criminalizing others.                                                                                                   
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(e) KimberlyAnnForSTL@gmail.com    (c) 314-349-8042

© Paid for by Families Kimberly-Ann Collins, Melba Willis, Treasurer