Kim wasn’t a mover or shaker. She wasn’t a great accomplisher. She never ran for office or designed a building downtown. She never drew attention to herself, nor did she have big dreams to change the world. But change the world she did.
Kim Rogers was a woman who immediately drew people in. The twinkle in her eyes and her generous smile immediately set people at ease. Her little students adored her and held on to her as though they could draw her quiet, loving, serene ways into them through touch.
Placing a small child into the new surroundings of day care can be a traumatic experience both for the child and the parent. Although preschool teacher does not rank high on the list of top career choices, those who fill this role can have a tremendous impact for good on the lives they touch. When you left a child with Kim, you felt like your own sister was going to watch, guide, and protect your flesh and blood with every fiber of her being and with great patience and love. This is a very special gift. As a single, sole-supporting parent, I can attest to the peace I had leaving my toddler in her hands. After an initial adjustment, my child thrived under her care and Kim helped me reinforce that stability at home. To know that peace in your heart is a rarity as a parent.
Kim started her busy career in Santa Monica, then came to Santa Barbara and taught briefly at Discoveries Learning Center. She found a long-term home at Las Flores Preschool in 1989. Children came back from college to visit Kim and thank her for touching their lives. Her students’ parents, now grandparents, came to visit with their grandtots in tow. Three generations have come to see her this past year.
Kim led a quiet life with her husband, Chuck, her own two children, Ashley and Phillip, and her dogs. She loved Santa Barbara and all it offered, and she cherished her home life, her garden, and her friends. She was a gifted seamstress, making everything her children wore when they were young and many of her own clothes. She cooked like a TV-show chef and fed you well for any and every occasion or just for stopping by. Her recipes were highly sought after. Kim played piano and brought music into her home and into the lives she touched at school along with her husband on the guitar.
At Las Flores, Kim decorated her room in wonderful ways. Her husband made sandboxes; her son and husband planted trees. Kim and I made a soft-sculpture life-sized tree for the children to sit under for story time that lasted many years. Her husband also built a loft for the kids to climb into. Kim had a table display of silk worms and taught the children about the cycle of life through the stages of a moth. Dress up, play acting, and stories were key aspects of Kim’s way of teaching self-expression. Children flourished in her class.
Preschool sets the stage for the future of education in each child. It’s a true gift to have a gifted and talented teacher pour into you and your child. I am most grateful for this woman and her gift to our community’s children for so many years. Kim Rogers was my best friend.
Precious friend, you are missed, and I thank you for touching my life and thousands of tiny lives in your generous, loving, and kind way. A celebration of life will be held for Kim Marie Rogers on Saturday, October 1, at Montecito Covenant Church (671 Cold Spring Rd.) at 11 a.m.