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New TMI Client Representative to the Board of Directors is Special in More Ways Than One

Updated: May 20, 2021

Kym happily working at Smart & Final.

Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) is happy to announce that our new Board of Directors Client Representative is Kym Moran. Kym will be a voice for the more than 1,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities that TMI serves throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties.

“Kym is the perfect choice as she is a strong advocate for herself, as well as for others who face challenges each and every day due to their disabilities,” said TMI Executive Director Rachel Harris. “She is also a very kind and understanding individual whose perspective will be greatly appreciated and received.”

Kym shared a bit about herself with us. We love what she had to say!

Q. How has TMI assisted you?

A. I began working at Smart & Final through the TMI Paid Internship Program in October 2019. I wasn’t sure if I would like the work, as I never pictured myself working in a grocery store. I was surprised how enjoyable the work was, especially with the support and encouragement of my TMI Job Coach Cassandra Jackson.

Kym excited for fall!
Kym excited for fall!

At first, my duties included a variety of things, such as getting carts, stocking shelves, janitorial and well, a little bit of everything. When the pandemic shutdown happened in March 2020, my internship was temporarily paused, however, to my surprise, the Smart & Final manager kept in touch with me and encouraged me to apply for a position at the store. She said that I was a great worker and that she wanted to hire me! After going through the application, interview and orientation process, I was hired at Smart & Final in July 2020.

Q. What is your favorite part about working there?

A. I enjoy assisting the customers and making sure that they are having a nice shopping experience. My co-workers are very friendly and helpful. My TMI Job Coach and my manager provide me with a lot of encouragement and support, which motivates me to do my best!

Kym operating the register at Smart & Final.
Kym operating the register at Smart & Final.

Q. What challenges have you faced and what was the outcome?

A. My manager encouraged me to train as a cashier. I was afraid of doing this job because I didn’t think I would be any good at it. I was intimidated by handling money, memorizing produce codes and being too slow getting customers through the line quickly. However, with the encouragement of my family, Job Coach and my manager I trained as a cashier and passed the tests!

Q. How did that make you feel?

A. I am proud of myself for pushing through my fears because I really enjoy being at the register and interacting with the customers.

Q. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

A. I enjoy sitting outside listening to music while I paint or draw pictures on paper, canvas or t-shirts. There are a lot of little kids in my extended family and I love seeing their faces light up when I show them the children’s stories I made about them with illustrations of them to go along with it. My mom and I do a lot of crafts too, so we’re always busy doing a fun project of some kind.

Q. Is there anything that you would like to share regarding growing up or about your family and friends?

Kym at a fun event!
Kym at a fun event!

A. I have three brothers and three step-sisters. I also have three nephews and one niece in addition to lots and lots of cousins. Growing up in a big family has been fun because I’ve always had someone to play with. My family has always loved and encouraged me and has never treated me as someone with a disability.

I believe that my disability has helped teach those around me to have more compassion and kindness to others because we talk about it. We focus on what we are all capable of and how our differences make us all unique.

Q. What are your hopes for the future?

A. In the future I hope to advance my position at Smart & Final. I also hope to use my voice to help educate people about how capable individuals with disabilities can be when given support, encouragement and kindness.

Q. Is there anything additional that you would like to add?

A. I have a rare disability called Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome. It makes me special. :)

Kym’s TMI Division Manager Julie Dickerson had this to say:

Kym attending her first TMI Board meeting via Zoom.
Kym attending her first TMI Board meeting via Zoom.

“Kym is an absolute joy to work with. She's very hard-working, has a great sense of humor, and is always willing to help her family, friends, and co-workers. I know she is taking her role as the TMI Board of Directors Client Representative very seriously because she wants the voices of people with disabilities to be heard. She hopes to use this platform to accomplish that.”

Kym has already attended her first TMI Board of Directors meeting. She did a fantastic job and is a very welcome addition to the Board. If you are a TMI client, family member or advocate with something you would like Kym to share with the TMI Board of Directors, please email Kym at Great job, Kym!

(Thank you to Kym and her mom Holly for contributing to this story.)


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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