Kim Long, 25, was a social worker counseling adults when she noticed “there wasn’t much being done for children, especially those with divorced parents.” So in 1977, while supporting herself as a cocktail waitress, Long set up “Kids in the Middle” (KIM) in Clayton, a suburb of St. Louis, to help the young deal with post-separation feelings of anger, fear, loneliness and guilt. (The 7-12 age group takes it hardest, she notes.)The daughter of a guidance counselor mother and advertising executive father, Long was raised in Manhasset, N.Y. She majored in Russian history at the University of Maryland and took a master’s degree in social work at Washington University. At 19 she married a fellow student. Three years later they split (no children). Bolstered by a small inheritance and a $4,000 loan, she now counsels 21 children a week. Many have been referred to her by lawyers and schools. Long charges a $120 fee for eight weekly sessions. These include discussion groups for teens and play therapy for younger children. “I don’t turn anyone away,” she says. “That’s why I have no money.” With community contributions, she should be able to meet this year’s $46,000 budget. “Okay, St. Louis,” she pleads, “I’ve done it for three years and I proved it can be done. But I need help.”
Steve Blunck 28, is flying high with a balloon-bouquet business, and inflation bothers him not a bit. Instead of flowers, champagne or candy, Hollywood celebs now send Blunck’s balloon bunches on special occasions. His clients include Dolly Parton, Allan Carr, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Carson and Ann-Margret. An Army brat, Steve grew up at military posts around the world before his parents divorced in 1965. Then, after a year at the University of Virginia, he quit to become an auto salesman and in 1976 moved to L.A., continuing to peddle cars until he learned he might have cancer. It turned out he didn’t, but the scare convinced Steve to do something in life that would make him happy—”I wanted to celebrate every day.” He bought into Balloon Bouquets, Inc., which a longtime chum, Joe DelVecchio, had founded, and together they expanded on the good idea. The company opened branches in 14 cities across the country, making BB the only national balloon delivery service. Bunches start at $24 ($32 for the French Bouquet, with satin ribbons). Bachelor Blunck grosses $1,000 a week operating from his L.A. home. Would that today’s car salesmen did so well.