Kim Atchley '91
Becoming a writer was not what Kim Atchley ’91 thought she would do after graduation from USC Upstate with a degree in elementary education. She went on to teach for seven years in Aiken County and Spartanburg District 6, but says that her focus changed and she “shifted gears” as her family grew. She drew on her passion for writing and became a freelance writer for a variety of publications, including The Spartanburg Herald-Journal and Prime Years, which published her series of articles on hospice and on the Sandwich Generation.
Kim’s parents, though, experienced serious health challenges, and she felt she needed to scale back her freelance work in order to care for them through their illness and deaths in 2006 and 2008. The journey of caregiving, she says, was the “touchstone” for her to write a book When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help For This season of Life, with co-author Candy Arrington.
Published by Harvest House Publishers in September 2009, a reviewer says that the book is “what we rightly expect of good how-to books.” The authors highlight and illustrate their own personal journeys as caregivers, offer practical tips, biblical encouragement, advice for coping, and help for transitioning and rebuilding after a loved one passes.
Atchley says that her biggest professional accomplishment has been her book. “In the midst of some of the hardest times of my life, I felt a calling to share what I was living … and now it can be a tool to help others,” she writes.
After completing the book, Kim joined Hollywild Animal Park in Wellford as the press coordinator. “I have the fun of spreading the word about all the fascinating things happening at the park…it’s fun to say that I work in a zoo and that’s not just a joke!” she says.
Kim is also the Community Outreach/Education Specialist for the Need To Read program, a program founded by Emily and Catherine Conrad that provides teaching training for the implementation of the NTR middle school program.
Kim is also very proud of her three children: Alison, a sophomore at USC Columbia; Emily, a seventh grader; and Guy, a second grader. She is married to Ron Atchley, and the family resides in Pauline, S.C. She is active in the efforts to launch a library branch in the Pauline area, and is a member of Morningside Baptist Church, the National Federation of Press Women and Media Women of South Carolina.