My name is Kimberly Pratto Storr. I came to Pacific Unitarian 10 years ago, maybe more. I felt immediately welcome but not pressured. The simplicity of Pacific Unitarian and the music and discourse on current world events is what made me stay. I’m a fast paced east coaster and I think I cried at almost every service during the first 5 years because it made me stop and pause for a few minutes. And. That. Is. Powerful.
I’ve always been interested in the Religious Education (adult and children) aspect of the church because I studied moral development in college and that is the framework that informs all of my actions in work and life. I’ve taught RE for two years and was on the committee with parents for the past 7 years.
I’m running for the board because I would like to contribute my experience to help get Pacific Unitarian back on it’s feet after this strange pandemic experience and help to make decisions that will help all sorts of committees and task forces to form and succeed in our church. My experience of observing RE directors, parents, children and teachers in RE has given me a unique perspective of the Life Cycle of people when they enter the church to the time their kids graduate. I believe in our religious education program and see it as the foundation that can help families discover the Pacific Unitarian community when parents see RE as a way to help guide their children as they come of age in a divisive climate and diverse world. RE is central for families offering adult education and connection. I’ve seen how RE can help prepare kids to advocate for themselves and start to think critically about what matters and uncover their own values and live by them.
Sitting with many Pacific Unitarian people through this pandemic on zoom has given me an unprecedented opportunity to get to know many people at Pacific Unitarian that I would never have been able to know. It was a gift that emerged from one of the most isolating and difficult years. As a single parent with no family here, my time is swamped with caretaking. Zoom pods and the Sunday group drew me out of isolation and forced me to show up regardless of what was happening in my life, in the community, or in the world. I’ve seen first hand how a group that is committed can move forward through thick and thin. I appreciate that I can be myself and make mistakes but keep showing up. I’ve seen how hard it is to meet with different personalities weekly and monthly and the power of just staying in the game. You all gave that to me.
I’ve had two kids come up through Religious Education-two very different children with vastly different needs. I’ve seen not only the benefits of Religious Education, but also the difficulty of trying to accommodate children for one hour a week –that come from different families and life situations. My daughter beamed the first few years when she came out of RE. She felt accepted and repeatedly said “I like it here because people are kind to me”.
Sitting on the RE committee for 7 years now, I’ve seen 6 RE directors come and go and I’ve seen many people in the church group together to make things work through many transitions of ministers and RE directors. I had an amazing opportunity with Reverend Steve (during one of these difficult transitional periods) when we realized that Coming of Age was not happening in RE. We teamed up and made Coming of Age happen for our teens, committing to make it happen with only a week’s notice. I’ve seen our RE committee organize BBQ’s and impromptu family events happen even when we had no RE director. Just imagine what we can do now that we are more stable and coming out the pandemic. Just imagine what we can do now that we had a year of talking to each other about our church and how we structure programs… all on zoom because we couldn’t actually meet! To put a positive spin on this past year, the pandemic offered us a sabbatical and are now ready to come back stronger than ever!
My work progression when adulting!
Business world/Human Resources– Worked for 7 years in human resources.
Bohemian lifestyle– Rejected the business world and just tried to figure out what life is all about. I was a perpetual college student working full time and attending university, mostly full time until I was 35.
Group Homes Crisis counselor with kids with emotional/behavioral issues. Suicidal/homicidal.
Boston Public School – Special needs teacher and counselor and parent/child advocate for kids with learning disabilities. Trained as a reading tutor for kids with dyslexia. Substitute teacher.
Volunteer- Art teacher in public schools. Facilitator for racism discussion groups. Parent support group leader. Photographer for fundraisers for PWCF. Showed up for deeper dives and explored how Pacific Unitarian can best commit to social justice and anti-oppression for POC.
Mother of two diverse children who are over 18. One child who has a gift for critical thinking and just graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Anthropology (go Jonah!) and another who has a rare genetic disorder, Prader-Willi Syndrome, and who has overcome physical, genetic, social and emotional challenges of living a-typical in a typical centric world. (Go Naomi!)
BA Psychology, minor English, Photography
M.Ed. – Adolescent Risk and Prevention and Language and Literacy–social justice in education
Teacher certification: Regular and Special Education – middle/highschool
Photography, arts and crafts
Advocacy for inclusive education of all children
Child advocate / parent advocate