The Business of Giving

As an entrepreneur, Kym Rapier has made the business of contributing to the community her bread and butter. You may not recognize her name immediately, but you’ve probably heard of WellMed Medical Group, the family business her husband, George Rapier, created and owns. Kym’s start as a business owner came out of her passion for fitness. Starting out as a personal trainer, she found enjoyment in helping others lose weight and improve their health. But she felt the gyms she worked at lacked one crucial element: customer service. With the lack of personal attention in mind, Kym set out to create a gym where members were more than a number and the whole family could find enjoyment in exercising.

Kym started Family Fitness Unlimited in hopes that she could bring fitness to the community on the south side of San Antonio. The gym focused on catered services for every member of the family, including martial arts and kickboxing, weight-loss training and even day care. Each new member of the gym received three personal training sessions to get them acquainted with the equipment and on a good path. Each senior citizen received complimentary personal training throughout their membership.

Meanwhile, George had created the WellMed facilities, specializing in senior healthcare. WellMed is a well-known medical services chain, with locations in Texas, Florida and New Mexico. The medical group provides services in medical risk management, disease management and chronic care programs, home healthcare, healthcare delivery services and more.

Kym and George made the decision to combine their businesses, and so the WellMed Senior Center was born. The gym was converted to a resource center for seniors to receive services such as computer training, a free lunch program and fitness programs. Kym continues to oversee this and the six other senior centers in the WellMed Medical Group, to provide that exceptional customer service and personalized care that was lacking at the gyms in which she had once worked.

Kym’s drive to help people didn’t start in the gym, though. Her journey to entrepreneurship and volunteerism actually began when she was about 6 years old. Kym was watching TV one day and learned of a terrible disease called muscular dystrophy. Muscular dystrophy is an incurable condition that causes progressive weakness in the muscles and loss of muscle mass. The disease can get pretty severe, leaving some unable to walk and, in some severe cases, breathe unassisted.

“I knew that was what I was supposed to do: help other people,” Kym thought after learning of this debilitating disease.

That’s when Kym started out on her journey to help people. She went door to door collecting donations for people with muscular dystrophy, without knowing a single person with the disease.

Fast-forward to present day and Kym is still helping others. She started the charity Kym’s Kids of San Antonio with the mission of helping underprivileged children in the area raise money to go to school. The funds can be used for college or a vocational training program.

The program is based on a points system, in which kids earn points by volunteering for those less fortunate than them. This genius idea gives kids huge benefits: money for a brighter future and a glimpse into life on the other side of the spectrum should they not take advantage of the opportunity; and assistance programs, like the food bank, get the benefit of having a volunteer.

“This charity was started because I had a dream,” Kym says. “I had a dream about helping kids, and I knew I just had to do it. I didn’t know what I was doing, so I just started telling people about my idea. Eventually, everything just fell into place.”

To this day, Kym’s Kids of San Antonio has provided over 25,000 hours of community service and funded $175,000 in scholarship funds for San Antonio students.

Kym has even inspired her husband’s medical group to follow her lead. She helped with the creation of the WellMed Charitable Foundation, which provides funds to support seniors and caregivers in the community. To date, the foundation has donated over $3 million to the community.

The charitable giving in this entrepreneur knows no bounds. Kym has started a new venture that includes a donation with every purchase.

Bear Bottom Candles are hand-poured and made with 100 percent American soy wax. They are deliciously fragrant and luxurious. They also provide funds for the charitable organizations Kym supports, including Kym’s Kids of San Antonio; Club 21, a learning and resource center for individuals with Down syndrome; Vet Hunters, a grassroots group that strives to end homelessness for veterans; City Year, which aims to increase graduation rates in high-poverty communities; and Holy Cross Children’s Services, an organization that intends to meet the needs of vulnerable kids and their families.

To round out this charitable portfolio, Kym plans to open a no-kill animal shelter. This will not be your average animal shelter; Kym would like to be able to take in every animal that needs a home, whether it be a dog or a donkey! She foresees opening a shelter in the San Antonio area and one in California.

As you can see from her impressive and extensive background, Kym has and will continue to help people through her entrepreneurial adventures. She has already accomplished great success in her career and managed to give so much back to the community, but this is only the beginning for Kym. I, for one, cannot wait to see what’s next for this woman who inspires many!

To learn more about Kym’s Kids of San Antonio and to donate to the organization, visit www.kymskidssa.org.

Photo: gstockstudio/bigstock.com

Powered by Top Rated Local®