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Kaleidoscope Community Adult Program Opens August 20

Written by Abigail Guerdat, Communications & Grants Associate at Easterseals Northern California

We all have a calling. For some of us, it may be cooking, dancing, or coding. For others, it’s repairing jet engines, delivering babies, or measuring seismic waves. Although we all work towards the common good of our society, there are some individuals with a calling to lead and mentor. These are the people who see the infinite possibilities in their mentees and strive to help them reach their fullest potential.



What inspired you to work with individuals who have special needs?

ZL: Honestly, it all started with a hug. It was the most unconditional and genuine hug I’ve ever received in my life. I was working at a grocery store at the time, back in 2003, and was paid to go to the Special Olympics to help out. I went and got about 30 hugs before I even made it past the parking lot. I stayed all day then went to the grocery store where I worked and quit on the spot. I knew I had to pursue this line of work—it was more meaningful than anything else.


What do you enjoy most about your work now?

ZL: It’s all different, which is what I like. There’s always something new. Not to mention, learning about the behaviors that are always evolving in the individuals and watching them grow—that’s the best.


What are some of your best memories from your career?

ZL: There are too many. Everything is a good memory, like the BBQs we have with participants and the outings we go on. Even the challenging experiences are all good memories.


This new program is designed to help adults gain employment skills and more independence. What else do you hope KCAP will accomplish?

ZL: I’m hopeful that KCAP will positively impact the community at large—not just the participants—in the form of education, inclusion, and integration. It’s also a huge accomplishment when participants gain more independence, which is an honor to watch. You make real connections with these folks and you find yourselves rooting for each other every step of the way.


This work is, without a doubt, very important. Why do you think this program and profession are so important for our society?

ZL: To be honest, this line of work can sometimes not be done well. There are many opportunities for programs out there to improve, so being able to go to work each day and provide high-quality services to make a big, lifelong impact for our participants and their families makes all the difference. To watch them grow and develop because of a program you’re involved in is extremely rewarding. There’s nothing like it—this is the independence and quality of life they deserve.


What would you say to someone thinking about getting into this line of work?

ZL: Do it. Do it here, at KCAP, where you can see the difference you make every day. We work in a group setting focused on participants’ interests and ambitions, and there’s nothing like witnessing true friendships being made while you work alongside your own friends. If you have that passion, do it.


If Zach’s words resonate with you, consider checking out our list of open positions at Easterseals Northern California and Kaleidoscope, or donating to support the new KCAP program. Because when there’s meaningful work to be done, those who hear the calling will answer.

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