Kim Chandler has a way of getting right to the point.
Ask her, for example, about her experience at the Special Olympics USA Games in New
Jersey this past June and Kim simply replies, "I like to win."
Which is a good thing, because the 38-year-old Mill Valley woman with Down Syndrome did a lot of winning at this year's games. Kim returned with three swimming medals, one of each color: gold, silver, and bronze.
"It makes me feel good," Kim says.
It makes Kim's mother, Nancy, proud. "Yes, it does," she says.
What makes Nancy even prouder, though, is how Kim lives her life outside of competitions. It is a life that was scarcely imaginable to the doctors in Thailand (where the family was living at the time) who diagnosed Kim with Down Syndrome as a baby.
"The doctors said maybe she will be able to fit into society," Nancy recalls.
Kim has done much more than fit in, though. She has become a role model for those with special needs, and those without.
For example, since coming back from her triumph in New Jersey, Kim as been volunteering at the Mill Valley Community Center.
"I really thinks she loves working with young children," Nancy says.
Kim assists a swim instructor in the pool, demonstrating strokes to the children, carrying them in the water as they practice theirs.
"I like it," Kim says. "All of it."
Kim also helps during the Community Center's summer camps helping children with various art projects.
Nancy says it is wonderful for Kim to be in a position where children look up to her as a role model, not someone with special needs.