The Kevin Factor

By Amanda Correia, Chief Digital Storyteller

I met Kevin Baker at the Maple Gate Country Club, where he is the Range Manager. Kevin picked me up in a golf cart and whisked me around the course, pointing out where he’d learned to drive the “picker” and the hills that were hard to navigate when he was first learning to drive the carts.

He also told me about a middle-of-the-night fire that he and his cat (who, coincidentally, is named Smoky) escaped at Kevin’s last apartment. The fire made Kevin think differently about his priorities: he had been a steady, reliable employee at a local restaurant for fourteen years, but being a dishwasher wasn’t fulfilling. Kevin knew just who could help: he had first connected with KDC many years ago through the Independent Support program and turned to them for additional support.

That’s when Kevin met Stephen Kelleter of the KDC Transitional Job Support Program. “When Kevin first started the Transitional Job Support program, he was very reserved,” said Stephen. “He came to the program willingly, but he needed a lot of direction about each step of the process.”

First, Stephen matched Kevin with a volunteer role at the Bellingham Senior Center. The Senior Center needed help in the garden and arranging books in the common areas, tasks that required attention to detail and could be completed in relative solitude.

Kevin excelled at these projects, and soon he felt confident enough to move on to a paid position elsewhere. The Bellingham Senior Center appreciated Kevin’s work so much that they offered to continue his free transportation benefits – even to his new job!

Two years before I met him, Kevin started his part-time position at Maple Gate Country Club. “Kevin has an amazing work ethic. He fills up the golf buckets faster than anyone I’ve ever seen,” says Stephen.  “I call it the ‘Kevin Factor.’”

Once again, Kevin fully committed to his new responsibilities, and Stephen could see both his confidence and his skills flourishing. Kevin took on more work hours, started to coordinate his own transportation (still free from the Bellingham Senior Center) instead of relying on Stephen for assistance, and earned a promotion to Range Manager.

This is the Kevin I met – confident, thriving in his role, and living independently. Both Kevin and KDC itself are motivated by a sense of purpose. Now I’ll call it “the Kevin Factor”!