Unlocked Potential: Life Beyond Limitations
Currently serving Children and Families in Central and Northern NJ
Kim is the Owner and Executive Director of Unlocked Potential. Since childhood, Kim has been an observer of people, a helper to many, and the type of person people feel comfortable confiding in when they have a problem. While some people choose a profession, Kim feels strongly that this profession was a natural progression on the skills she already possessed. The profession chose her, for lack of better words. Aside from being approachable, Kim's greatest strengths also include her passion to provide quality services as well as her ability to be creative and innovative.
For her Social Work studies, Kim attended Seton Hall University declaring social work as her major prior to admission as a freshman. Kim excelled in the program and knew immediately that she had made the right choice. Within the Social Work program at Seton Hall, internship experiences started during the Spring Semester of Junior year and students would continue at their field placement into the Senior year of the program. For her field placement, Kim was lucky enough to be placed at Coordinated Family Care, the care management organization in Middlesex County. What was special about this placement was that the agency was only about 4 months old at the time and was part of a statewide initiative to address children's behavioral and mental health needs separate from child protection services. The focus of the Division of Child Behavioral Health services during this period was on the implementation of the Wraparound Model whose focus was to keep children at home and in the community while "wrapping" support from friends, extended family, and formal services around the family while helping them take steps to meet their Family Vision. From a professional standpoint, Kim had a first hand look at how important it was to build upon the strengths of the child and family and to work together to keep kids in their natural environment.
Upon graduating from Seton Hall University in 2005, Kim continued to work in the field as a Behavioral Assistant while attending graduate school at Columbia University School of Social Work. In addition to learning about clinical methods of the profession, Kim also focused and became even more passionate about learning how to develop effective, efficient, and respectful programs that would benefit larger groups within the community. After graduating from Columbia University in 2006, Kim had the chance to return to Coordinated Family Care as a Care Manager. From this position, Kim was able to have a bird's eye view to observe the development and evolution of the children's system and to identify and address gaps in services for those most in need - kids.
Over the years, Kim moved on to become a Senior Care Manager within the Care Management Organization but also decided to develop more of her clinical skills as an In Home Clinician in 2009. In 2011, Kim begrudgingly left the comfort of the "known" with the Middlesex Care Management Organization to spread her wings and join the Care Management team in Essex County as a Care Manager Supervisor. With Kim's enthusiasm and commitment to Wraparound, she was entrusted with additional responsibilities to also be the Lead Wraparound Coach for the organization in 2012. Simultaneously, she continued with In Home therapy work and was also promoted to be a part time Clinical Supervisor in 2013. Life was busy, but Kim truly enjoyed helping others on a daily basis and seeing the impact of her work through the successes of her families. Having been in the field for so long and being open to work with a variety of needs allowed her to gain experience in a variety of age groups, to meet and become familiar with a rainbow of family systems, and to hone her skills in children's mental health, developmental disabilities, and various behavioral difficulties.
In 2013, Kim learned about a new statewide initiative to offer specialty therapy services geared to the unique needs of children affected by developmental disabilities and was encouraged by a friend to apply as a provider. In 2014, Kim had realized how her experience, passion, and talents could fit into the gaps in the system and leaped out on faith to become a top quality provider in the central and northern NJ areas. Here we are in 2017 and everything continues to be going well!
Kim is also involved in a variety of other activities outside of Unlocked Potential. She is the mother of 3, is currently an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University and is a member of the Board of Education in her town. She is a member of the NJ Young Democrats and the NJYD Latino Caucus as well as involved with LUPE (Latinas United for Political Empowerment). Lastly, Kim is also involved with her professional organization, the National Association of Social Workers - NJ Chapter and is currently the Chairperson of the LASA committee (Legislative and Social Action Committee). Kim strongly feels that as a social worker, her responsibilities extend beyond direct practice and that advocacy around public policy and social justice are extremely valuable to helping the communities we are all a part of.
Kim Keyes, LCSW