Bodholdt promotes kindness in schools

Kim Bodholdt has been a counselor in the Fort Dodge Community School District for more than six years, helping to guide the lives of the elementary and now middle school students of Fort Dodge.

Bodholdt received her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, and later attended Buena Vista University, where she received her master’s degree in school counseling.

“For several years, I was a stay-at-home mom,” she said. “And when I was a stay-at-home mom I had the opportunity to help in my children’s classrooms when they were in elementary school and just found a love for that, and so then decided to go into school counseling so I could help students.”

Now a counselor at Fort Dodge Middle School, Bodholdt first split her time between Feelhaver and Cooper elementary schools for three years and then Feelhaver and Riverside schools for two years.

At FDMS, Bodholdt helps guide individual students through their problems.

“That might be friendship issues, outside the school issues, family issues, difficulties, anything we can do to help them be more successful in school,” she said. “But the counselors at the middle school also work with the programs that help promote positive culture and climate, like PBIS and Rachel’s Challenge.”

Bodholdt said she enjoys the middle school.

“This has been a very exciting year as far as a brand new building and putting two schools together,” she said. “I love the elementary school, love the kids, love the staff, but this is really a unique opportunity for me to help the district and staff here to help bring those two schools together and help create that positive culture and climate here in this building.”

At the middle school, Bodholdt has rejoined many students she has helped in the past.

“That’s been very helpful,” she said. “I do know quite a few of the kids here in this building, and that’s been very nice.”

According to Bodholdt, helping students at the middle school level can be more challenging.

“It’s a difficult time in life for a lot of kids, understanding who they are, who their friends are, what they believe, what their values are,” she said. “We just try to help them maneuver through those difficult times, which is different at the elementary school level. We don’t have as big of issues, it seems like.”

Though sometimes challenging, there are also rewards, Bodholdt said.

“One of the things I really like about the middle school is with an older kid you can have more intellectual type conversations with them,” she said. “They have more opinions and you try to work through a solution together, just help guide them in what they want to do with their life.”

A great moment for Bodholdt, she said, was at the elementary school following the introduction of Rachel’s Challenge.

“We were promoting kindness in the school, and I had a student in the elementary who came to me all the time,” she said. “We made kindness links and we wanted to see how many links we could get in the building, and I had a particular student who came to me and said, you need to come to our classroom and see how many kindness links we have, it’s just growing and growing, and everybody’s being kind. And that just makes it kind of all worth it.”