Youth Leadership Council Advisor
Kimberly has a Masters Degree in Secondary Education from Rutgers Graduate School of Education and a Bachelors Degree from Rutgers College in English Language and Literature. She is a teacher at Haddonfield Memorial High School with a cult following known as #TeamShakespeare. After becoming a full-time teacher in 2008, Kimberly began serving as the Youth Leadership Council (YLC) Advisor in 2009.
Kimberly's dedication and passion for creating awareness and giving back to hospitalized teens came after the passing of her best friend, Alicia DiNatale (namesake of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation). She started the first "Bandana Day" at her high school in 2004 with the mission to show solidarity for teens like Alicia. Once coming on as the YLC Advisor, Kimberly created the "Teens 4 Teens" program to help connect high schools with local hospitals and inspire youth to volunteer and raise awareness for teens battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
- Testimonials -
"Simply put, Kim is my second daughter. She was Alicia's closest friend and was one with our family since she was in elementary school. Her being, her spirit, is so full of love and giving she lightens up every room she enters. Her attitude is always positive, even when times are not. Her smile brings a smile to all. After Alicia's passing, it would have been easy for Kim to fade off into her own life, as many of Alicia's friends have done. It's totally understandable how these young adults have made their way into their own lives. But Kimmy, while making her way through college, and her career as a teacher, always, always made the time to connect with Gisele and I. It would be easy and understandable for her to get caught up in her life, but that's not Kim. She cares too much about others, cares too much about her best friend that isn't here to share her life with her, cares too much about things that really matter, and she cares about people. She is an inspiration to all that know her, and we love her like she was our own."
- Mario DiNatale (Kim's "Other" Dad)
"To say Kim is a large part of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation is an understatement. Kim is woven into the fabric of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation, playing an instrumental part since the foundation’s inception 15 years ago. She is the heart and soul of our foundation - a living, breathing testament to the extraordinary humanity a person is capable of providing. She’s worked tirelessly as a passionate advocate for the foundation’s cause, educating future generations to the importance of adolescent care in children’s hospitals and empowering schools and communities to take part in teen cancer awareness. She wholly defines what it means to be both a humanitarian and a philanthropist, both in her professional career as an inspiring educator and her personal life as a selfless promoter of the welfare of others."
- Sebby, Friend of Kim and Alicia's younger brother
"Kim defines what it means to be a dedicated loyal friend, as well as a selfless civil servant. As a personal younger friend of Kim, I have witnessed the transition of a girl who was a great friend of my sister, to her dedication to serving those in a similar circumstance of her friend years ago. I can't think of another woman who exemplifies friendship and service as completely as Kim."
- Gabe, friend of Kim and Alicia's younger brother
"Kimberly exudes warmth, determination, and passion to help others. I could not have asked for a better person to represent the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation at a recent event with me in Philadelphia. I was nominated for the VIP Philly Health Hero award and had chosen ARVF as my charity to benefit. Kimberly, although she was leaving for an early flight the next morning, agreed to come to the event with me. When they announced we had won, we were both surprised and excited. I felt honored to share the podium with Kim. She spoke about Alicia and the amazing work of the foundation with such grace, dignity, and passion. So many people came up to us after to comment on how the foundation fills a need that seemed to go unnoticed until now. It's easy to see why so many of her students participate in the ARVF and do other volunteer work. She is truly motivated to make a difference in the world by helping others, inspiring them and by living a life true to her friend Alicia -- helping teenagers and their families get through the most difficult time of their lives. Maya Angelou said it best when she said, 'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.' Kim makes students feel empowered, helps teenagers battling cancer feel loved and supported, and inspires others to get involved in making their community a better place."
- Ali Gorman, Health reporter, WPVI, 6abc, Action News
"It is always a pleasure to watch Kim "in action". No matter the task, Kim comes in like a powerhouse. Her enthusiasm is infectious. She puts her heart and soul into all she does. In regards to the foundation, Kim inspires her students and fellow teachers to be involved in many aspects. On Martin Luther King Day of Service, she brings students by the busload to assemble teen kits. She eloquently explains the importance of their service and why the cause is so dear to her heart. In the spring she rallies her coworkers, students, and her own high school alumni to be part of the 5K fundraiser for ARVF. As a volunteer working these events, I am always inspired by her passion and energy. During the year, even as she works a very demanding teaching schedule, Kim finds time to work with the YLC. The members love her. Kim is an amazing role model for teenagers who are captivated by her drive and in turn learn the importance of service and selflessness. I, too, always feel the need to push myself just a little more when I am in her presence. She is a quite deserving young woman who believes in spending her life educating students in and out of the classroom, inspiring them with her work ethic and love of making service to others a vital part of their lives."
- Kathy Mignone, ARVF volunteer
"Kim is an instant beaming face when you walk into a room. She is always full of smiles and you can always count on her to put a pep in your step. Whenever I was with Kim, even if it was for a few moments, she always seemed to squeeze in some positivity into whatever the conversation was about. Seeing the leaps and bounds she has gone in honor of her childhood best friend shows how much good there is in some people, and how much love is inside of Kim. There is no doubt in my mind that Kim would personally help, in any way she could, anyone who needed it. If one of her youth council members needed her, she would be there; if I needed get she would be there too. She is always on top of what needs to get done and so organized. Giselle could not have picked a better person to help lead teens to help fellow teens in Alicia's honor. Kim would take leaps and bounds for Alicia, and after her death would now take those same leaps for Alicia's family, and everyone involved in ARVF. It has been and absolute pleasure getting to meet and get to know Kim, she has so greatly impacted my positive outlook on life and made it so much stronger."
"I have worked with Kim on our 5K run for the past nine years. She has taught the youth counsel how to interact in an extremely positive way. Each year I remind Kim that her teaching and enthusiasm is second to none with them when it comes to her students volunteering. I also tell her these are the students that will succeed in life."
- Dennis Wall, ARVF Volunteer
"Kim's energy and dedication never ceases to amaze us all! She is truly a special person."
- Margaret Zinsky, Victorious 5K Planning Committee
- Dakota, ARVF Victorious Voice Blog Writer & YLC Member
"I have always heard about Kim Dickstein growing up, whether it was when I was younger and just starting out with the Alicia Rose Foundation's 5K's, or when my aunt would talk about how Kim and my cousins used to be friends with Alicia. I finally personally met Kim a few years ago and she has been an inspiration in my life ever since. Her involvement and dedication to this foundation is remarkable and Kim's desire to give back encourages me to be a better person. Kim is so kindhearted and she makes me wish I grew up with her, she seems like the best friend that everyone wishes for. Kim has been in charge of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation's Youth Leadership Council for the past fifteen years. In the YLC, Kim constantly strives to push our group of teens to create an impact in the lives of other teens battling life-threatening illnesses. Recently, the YLC redesigned activity journals for the teen kits we ship to teens in hospitals around the nation. Kim had the desire to bring the activity journals up to date and be as current and fun as possible for the teens receiving them. I truly admire Kim's philanthropy, she inspires our entire YLC group to help others. Kim has shed an immense amount of light on the lives of the people she is friends with or whoever she helps. It is with my utmost gratitude that I owe her a thank you for all that she has done for the foundation, Kim has such a kind soul and passion for giving back that is overbearingly humbling."
- Alessia Severino, YLC member
"Kim (Ms. Dickstein) is amazing. She pours herself into everything she does and that is so admirable. Her love for helping others is evident in everything she does- each lesson of every class, her friends, her family, the ARVF. Standing O for the one and only! So proud to have had you as a teacher and now a friend. Thank you for being YOU!"
"Miss Dickstein is one of the most selfless and caring people I have ever met. She lives to help others and I am incredibly lucky to know her and continue to work with her through the foundation for the past 3 years. I have never met a person who cares more about this foundation or charity work in general and for that I am lucky to have her as a role model."
- Sophia Caputi, YLC Member
"Ms. Kim Dickstein has helped shape my outlook on the world throughout the two years that I have known her. Her words and her actions have had a deep effect on my development as a young adult. Every year at the start of our first Youth Leadership Council (YLC) meeting, Kim shares why the Victorious Foundation is important to her and every year I cry. Kim's undeniable strength in the wake of her best friend's tragic death at an age so young has carried her through these years to the place she is today: a successful teacher and an awe-inspiring woman. Her dedication to the foundation and even the YLC is unmatched and deeply appreciated. It is clear she has a fervent commitment to not only Alicia and the foundation, but to us teens as well. That is more than I can say about many other members of the community. Ms. Kim Dickstein is a wonderful woman, but an even better role model."
- Rylee Booth, YLC Member
- Taylor Jacobs, former student and YLC member
"Kim is a true role model for her colleagues at HMHS. Everything she does, she does with her whole heart. Kim was a huge help to me when I took over the LEO Club at HMHS this year, acting as an informal liaison between the LEOs and the ARVF for the bandanna sale. Her passion for the ARVF was so evident when she explained the background of its history and mission to me. I know her students are inspired by her as well; the ARVF event is always very well attended during the MLK Day of Service, and I know a lot of that is due to Kim being such a strong advocate. Kim is such a genuinely caring person, and it is so inspiring to watch her model the importance of community service for all students at HMHS."
- Maggie Gammie, History Teacher at HMHS
"Kim is an amazing young lady. As a fellow educator, I have witnessed Kim as a student, friend, colleague, and now a proud teacher. For many years I have seen Kim grow into a gracious, warm, intelligent, and vivacious person that I see today. From the tender age of 13, Kim displayed a genuine desire to make people smile and laugh. As she matured into young adulthood from high school through college -- and now as an inspiring teacher to myriad young people, Kim tirelessly gives of her time to those around her. She spearheads committees, gives back to her community, and never forgets those that have impacted her the most.... like her best friend who regrettably passed away from cancer. Her unwavering commitment to bettering the life of others with life-threatening illnesses speaks to the spirit of her best friend Alicia who so eloquently epitomized the spirit and fragility of life. This said, I feel only pride to share these thoughts about Ms. Kim Dickstein."
- Ed Brandhorst, former teacher of Kim & ARVF volunteer
"Since joining the Haddonfield Memorial High School staff in 2009, Kim has been on a mission to instill the fire of volunteerism in our student body. For her first HMHS Spirit Week, she encouraged classes to buy and wear bandannas that not only showed class spirit but also supported the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation. Kim made sure each class understood the importance of buying and wearing bandannas. This was a springboard for HMHS Bandanna and Hat Days during Teen Cancer Awareness Week, where students would also buy bandanna brackets during lunch periods. By taking charge, Kim has helped our entire student body become voices in cancer awareness. More than one HMHS student sits with Kim on the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation Teen Council, and every MLK Day Kim supervises HMHS volunteers as they make bandanna bracelets, stuff envelopes for mailings, or package teen kits to patients around the country. Kim's dedication became very important when a member of the Class of 2015 passed away from cancer in October of his senior year. The students immediately looked to Kim for support. While reliving her own experience of losing Alicia, Kim helped our students deal with a difficult situation. She was a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, an organizer of support, and so much more. Kim strives to make the world a better place every day and makes Alicia's memory a part of more people's lives. The students of HMHS work to improve the lives of teens living with cancer because Kim showed them how important and easy it is to make a difference. She's a great example of how one person can make a difference."
- Haddonfield Memorial High School (HMHS) Staff Member
"Kim is one of the very few truly genuine people I know. She is a genuine friend, teacher, sister, daughter, philanthropist and even stranger. She genuinely cares about her students well-being and education, not her evaluations. She genuinely cares about making kids in hospitals smile, not the credit people give her for all of her philanthropic work. She genuinely cares about the stranger in front of her at Starbucks who is rude and clearly having a bad day. She genuinely cares about each student she teaches equally regardless of how smart they are or how difficult they can be in class. She is a genuine, caring and selfless person. Kim's dedication to Alicia and the foundation is amazing. Her ability to organize and inspire adults and teenagers (including myself) who volunteer their time is impressive. I see Kim's passion and hand in everything the foundation does from the meeting room to the events. From the 5k to Alicia's Birthday Bash, Kim's energy and voice is right there. Her work and ideas are always so great that it seems like they are coming from a collaborative effort of two people, Kim and Alicia. Kim is a rare breed. Her passion and selflessness goes above and beyond anyone I know. Her dedication to ARVF and our community is unprecedented in my eyes. Thank you Kim for being the person you are. You truly amaze us all."
-Jarett, future brother-in-law and ARVF volunteer
“I remember Kim getting the phone call when Alicia was diagnosed. It was heartbreaking because they were only a week into their sophomore year of high school, and it did not seem possible. During Alicia’s treatment, Kim wanted to be strong for her friend and maintain that love of life that would help Alicia through the battle ahead. Even during Alicia’s treatment, they would still make dance videos. Kim would visit Alicia at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia often and I would go too, even though there was very little to do at the hospital. Highlights of our visits would be going to the McDonalds on the first floor, attending Bingo night on Tuesdays, painting our nails, and listening to Dave Matthews Band - anything to keep her entertained and mind off of why we were at the hospital in the first place. Kim would also be the person to keep people informed about what was happening with Alicia during her treatment. When Alicia came home from the hospital, Kim would hang out with Alicia when she was getting tutoring or try doing “normal teenage stuff” like go to the movies. I’ll never forget when Kim and Alicia went to Saturday Night Live and met actors like Jimmy Fallon. They loved this show since middle school so it was certainly a morale boost once Alicia was well enough to travel. They did their best to maintain a sense of normalcy. When Alicia got very sick toward the end, Kim continued calling and stayed positive during a difficult time for everyone.
While honoring her best friend’s life, Kim has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the purpose of ARVF. Her strong work ethic, contagious enthusiasm, and passion for ARVF is seen in all her efforts. She empowers others to not only be aware of hospitalized teens issues but also take action. She demonstrates humility and leads by example. She genuinely believes in the mission of ARVF and has seen the foundation impact her own students, family, and friends. She has raised awareness and improved the quality of life for hospitalized teens with her resolve to continue Alicia’s legacy.
During Teen Cancer Awareness Week 2017, I watched Kim speak with a group of teenagers at Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. As Kim spoke, you could see how she captivated these students who surrounded her in a circle. You could get a sense from their facial expressions that they felt moved by Kim’s words. In that circle, you felt a sense of solidarity in carrying out Alicia’s mission. When the circle broke, you could hear students talk to their friends, parents, and other adults about the foundation and how they were going to go back to their communities to spread how others can get involved. They wanted to act. Looking at those students, you got the feeling that they knew Alicia through Kim. They were empowered and Kim does that for people. She believes in the power of community and embraces the spirit of volunteerism.Kim’s commitment to her friendship with Alicia, her resolve to keep Alicia’s spirit alive by engaging teenagers and young professionals in our community through helping other hospitalized teens is genuine, enduring, and inspiring. Above all, it is admirable.”
- Katie Dickstein, sister of Kimberly and ARVF volunteer