How Kymberlee Hardin shares her passion through Healthy Schools of Oklahoma
At Bethany Children’s Health Center, our employees truly are the heartbeat that drives the organization. Every day, through the care and service they provide, they live our mission of maximizing the potential of every child and exemplify our core values of compassion, integrity, excellence, service and stewardship.
We hope you enjoy getting to know our amazing employees through our Heartbeat profiles.
August is the month in which we recognize our Community Health programs, including Healthy Schools Oklahoma (HSOK), which became a part of Bethany Children’s Health Center in July 2021. The program’s curriculum is designed to increase health knowledge and foster healthy attitudes and behaviors in students, families and faculty in schools across the state.
Kymberlee Hardin, Physical Education and Health Coordinator for HSOK, has found a place that allows her to share her passion for physical education and health in a multitude of ways. Coming out of the program’s annual Summer Health Institute for teachers from HSOK’s 60 participating schools, Kym is more than ready for the new school year.
“Getting to see the teachers and talk to them about what they do and how our program continues to shape PE programs across Oklahoma gives me a lot of joy,” she says. “If you ever talk to me about physical education, you know it’s a huge passion of mine. Being able to share it with others is very rewarding.”
Kym wears many hats at HSOK. She is the coordinator of the Action Based Learning program, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) projects, and the Painted Playscapes project. She says that each of these projects helps schools meet different needs around physical activities and health initiatives.
In 2020, during the pandemic, Kym was willing to try teaching the health curriculum on Facebook Live with her daughter, whose school is a part of the HSOK program. Her comfort in front of the camera has led HSOK to developing new and creative video content for teachers.
Her dedication to physical education led Kym to become certified as a National Trainer for OPEN, which is a free online physical education curriculum for teachers. “I have the opportunity to travel and share my passion for physical education with teachers across the USA by teaching them the OPEN curriculum,” Kym says.
Working with the teachers is fulfilling, and hearing stories of the kids and families impacted by the program is its own reward.
“Last year we had a teacher tell us that a student had helped her father quit smoking after the tobacco lesson from our curriculum was presented,” she says. “We hear stories like that all the time and each one reinforces the importance of what we are doing at HSOK.”
Kym always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She taught elementary physical education in Oklahoma City Public Schools for nine years before joining Health Schools Oklahoma in 2019. Looking at where she is now, she says, “I loved teaching, but always knew I wanted to reach a broader audience and HSOK has helped me achieve that dream.”
Something people may not know: “I am extremely competitive. I will give you my all, no matter what!”
Consistent healthy habit: “Exercise! Daily walks or heading to the gym.”
Favorite ways to spend free time: “I love to watch sports. Attending games is better, but I will watch any sports on TV – currently the Women’s World Cup Soccer. Go USA!”
Favorite movie: “Love and Basketball”
Favorite inspirational saying: “Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just illusions.” – Michael Jordan
If you could pick a superpower, what would it be? “Snap my fingers and the laundry would be clean and put away!”
From the Bucket List: Run a marathon.