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New MGD instructor knows how to teach

Kim Williams knows how to communicate and work with groups. AKorean orphan, she was adopted by an American family when she wasthree and one-half years old. Williams, 35, is the latest additionto the Mississippi Gym of Dreams staff, serving as preschoolinstructor and recreational director.

“I love being able to help children improve their skills,” saidWilliams. “It’s very rewarding.

“I like helping the little ones learn how to skip,” shecontinued. “I like to be able to say, ‘I helped that person.’ Itfeels good when they come back and remember me.”

Her parents, Bill and Jean Girod, are from Caldwell Parish, La.They had three children of their own. They adopted six children,four Koreans, one Mexican and one Caucasian

“When I was first adopted, I cried for a a whole year because Ididn’t understand English,” Williams recalled. She was raised inTexas and began taking ballet and gymnastics in Houston.

Williams worked in the Houston Jazz/Ballet Co. and lived withactor Patrick Swayze’s mother, the company’s owner, for one year.Williams started teaching ballet at the age of 14. At age 16, shebecame a partner in a dance studio.

“At 18, I had my own studio,” said Williams. She began teachingaerobics in Arlington, Texas. She currently works part-time at MainStream Fitness in Natchez.

“I just love Brookhaven,” said Williams. “It’s a greatplace.”

She is married to Russ Williams and they live in Ferriday, La.They have two sons, age 16 and 14.

Williams said she recognizes and promotes the importance ofgymnastics and cheerleading. “Cheerleading is not a popularitycontest any more. It requires a lot of hard work.”

Duane Meilstrup remains on the MGD staff as gymnastics coach andcheer coach. He and Williams work together in some classes.

“With Kim being on staff, it should be even better,” said MGDowner Dwana Wright. From 380-425 youngsters participate in variousMGD classes during the year.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Kim’s experience,”Wright pointed out. “She’s a very cheerful person and the kids arejust drawn to her. Duane and Kim really compliment each other.”

Wright said the MGD is offering recreational and cheer classesthis summer. They also will offer a cheerleader camp for variousage groups, starting with a peewee level, for children age 6 andup.

“It’s also an opportunity for children in other sports to keepin shape during the summer,” said Wright. The MGD provides accessto weight training machines and free weights.

“Moms and dads can use our weight facilities while theirchildren are attending classes,” said Wright.