Benerd doctoral candidate positions herself as leader in local community
"Everyone deserves a safe place to build hope for themselves and to achieve their dreams." - Kimberly Miller '21
In a world where leadership is often lacking, Kimberly Miller '21 understands the importance of being a role model and positioning herself to help her community.
A graduate of Lincoln High School, Miller moved to Stockton with her family in 1991. For most of her career she has devoted herself to working in a variety of local sectors throughout the city including the Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services and the Administrative Services Department for the city of Stockton.
"Stockton is my hometown," said Miller. "It's important to me to support my city and community."
Currently, Miller is the new associate director for the Children’s Home of Stockton (CHS). CHS was originally established in 1882 by the Ladies Aide Society of Stockton for the purpose of rendering charitable services to the city. Throughout its 138-year history, CHS has served as an orphanage and a group home for dependent and neglected children. Today, the program offers a Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program to at-risk youth, ages 12-18, with comprehensive educational and therapeutic services.
“As a single mother of two daughters, I resonate with our mission is to give at-risk youth an opportunity for a productive life through treatment and education in a safe, nurturing environment,” said Miller.
CHS houses up to 52 youth in six cottages and one community-based home. Residential students in the house participate in an alternative education program, which is operated through the San Joaquin County Office of Education.
"Everyone deserves a safe place to build hope for themselves and to achieve their dreams," commented Miller. “Our goal is to educate these kids so they can go into their community to create positive change."
As a self-proclaimed lifelong learner, Miller is a firm believer in the power of education. She is now a doctoral student in the Leadership and Innovation program at University of the Pacific’s Benerd College. Her dissertation will focus on community resilience and what Stockton residents discovered after the 2008 economic crisis.
"When I considered furthering my education, I looked for a program that aligned with my purpose," said Miller. "I appreciated how inclusive and diverse the programs were at Pacific, it made me feel comfortable with my decision."
Benerd's Leadership and Innovation program offers a unique and transformative experience for students interested in the study and practice of learning, leadership, and change. Students focus on a system and innovation perspective to make real and lasting changes in their communities.
“My classes have helped me see things from a different perspective and I believe I am now a more inclusive leader,” said Miller. “I’m excited to take what I have learned through the program specifically ‘design thinking techniques’ to positively impact the Children's Home of Stockton.”
Miller credits her own mentors for pushing her to look into the Leadership and Innovation program. Judith Chambers, former vice president for student life at Pacific; Dr. Kathy Hart, former San Joaquin Delta College president; and Joelle Gomez, chief executive officer at Children’s Home of Stockton have all supported her throughout the years.
“These people have invested a lot in developing me into who I am,” remarked Miller. “It’s important for me to now give back and to help inspire others.”