BILL: Yeah, that’s the name of the show, like the guy with the big booming voice said. Community Connection. KGMI News Talk 790, kgmi.com, and the FM dial, 96.5 FM in Bellingham. Bill Davis, your host here. Welcoming back to the studios, it’s always a pleasure because she brings brightness and great success stories, Mary Nestle-Klyn she’s Residential Administrator, with Cascade Connections. You’re, you’re looking all fresh. You’re ready for fall, you’re ready for winter, you’ve got the hot summer away from you, you’re ready, aren’t you?
MARY: I would love some snow again.
BILL: Wait a minute now, now hold on now, I live in Sudden Valley, and this radio station happens to be at the very top of a hill, so it’s not that I think snow is evil, but I think snow is evil.
MARY: It’s so pretty!
BILL: It is, but you ever try driving up a hill, or down a hill in it?
MARY: I, I have an Expedition, so [laughs]
BILL: So you don’t, you’re fine. You’re fine. Well, Mary, it’s always good to see you. Thank you for coming in today.
BILL: Do you want to give people, before we introduce the guests your brought with you, a little background on what you do there with Cascade Connections?
MARY: Oh, I don’t know what I do. I’m a Residential Administrator, which means that I wear many hats. Different day, different answer. Basically, I oversee our residential programs, which assist adults with developmental disabilities to live in the community.
BILL: And, uh, every day is a new day, right? Every day is totally different.
BILL: There’s always challenges each day, right?
MARY: Yeah, that’s what keeps it exciting and why 16 years later, I’m still here.
BILL: Oh, absolutely. When’s, when’s your 17th year anniversary coming up?
MARY: Oh, I think it’s next month.
BILL: Seriously? We’ll have to throw a party for you.
BILL: Talk to George Beanblossom, he needs to throw you a big party. Uh, and invite everybody out for cake and ice cream if that’s okay. Well, so you brought a couple of folks with you. Tell us who is with us today.
MARY: We have Katie, and Jake, and they are advocates in our Bellingham Supported Living program.
BILL: Now, you have to explain to me here, before we, before I talk to you guys. When I think of advocate, I think of like a volunteer and they’re an advocate and they go out and they go into public and they tell everyone about it, but at they, they work for you guys at Cascade.
MARY: Mhmm, yep, so an advocate, they have additional responsibilities for our clients, they manage community integration planning, medical appointments, financial planning, and really oversee all areas of their clients’ lives. As well as, be role models to the staff and they are great trainers and peer coaches.
BILL: Yeah, and Katie, if it’s okay with you, we’ll talk to you first. Just pull up, yeah up to the microphone there, Umm, when did you start for Cascade?
KATIE: Sure. So I started six months ago in the DSP role, so the entry level.
KATIE: And worked my way up to an advocate position. Little more
BILL: Wait a minute, six months and you’re already promoted! Cool!
KATIE: [laughs] Yeah, yeah, there’s lots of room and opportunities for growth in the company, which is
KATIE: Which is really exciting, and everybody, and I really love the position of advocate, little more responsibility.
BILL: Yeah, and what do you do, now Mary told us a little bit, now tell me about your personal experience being an advocate. What, what do you do there?
KATIE: Um, so, I have a client that I serve and I support her in planning, and in reaching goals for herself, and I help her with financial planning, medical appointments like Mary said, a lot of times we just go out and get coffee together, promote inclusion, support time in the community, do activities that she likes to do, which is really fun. Every day is a little different.
BILL: Yeah, well, that’s the best part. You wouldn’t want to be boring every day, would you?
BILL: Yeah, so every day is totally different. And, we have somebody else with us. You want to tell me, uh, is it Jake?
MARY: This is Jake. Yep.
BILL: Hey, hey Jake!
JAKE: Good afternoon Bill.
BILL: Do you do the same thing, you’re an advocate?
JAKE: I do, that’s correct.
BILL: But I’m assuming that, uh, it’s totally different for you, am I right? You know, every day’s different.
JAKE: Oh, every day is definitely different. Um, same responsibilities that Katie was touching on.
BILL: Mhmm, so, did you start in the same role, when you first started with uh Cascade?
JAKE: I, yeah, I actually started at entry level, part time, but, um, I really loved it and saw the need in the organization and stepped into the role as advocate.
BILL: Yeah, and um, once again, fast track as far as promotions, it sounds like, right?
JAKE: Yeah, um, I started with Cascade in late May, so it’s been a little over 3 months.
BILL: Wow! So how does this happen Mary? I mean, they come in, and bang bang bang. It seems like the, the growth potential is huge.
MARY: I think if people just give it a try, and if they have the right skillset to be able to advance, then you know, we’re willing to give them that opportunity.
BILL: Yeah. Do you guys have to have a lot of flexibility in your schedule to do what you do, or, it doesn’t seem to me like you come in 8 o’clock, punch, uh, punch punch the lock and leave at 5.
JAKE: To a certain extent, that’s definitely true. Um, but it also depends on which staff can offer that level of flexibility. The organization will accommodate scheduling to the flexibility that meets staff. So some will have more regular schedules every week, and some will just be there to fill open positions as needed.
BILL: Sure, and, uh, Katie, what’s the best part. What’s most fun, what’s most rewarding to working with Cascade Connections?
KATIE: Well, first and foremost, it’s just the individuals that we support, they’re just a fantastic group of people. All very different, all have lots of skills and abilities to offer. I learn a lot, and I laugh a lot.
KATIE: Um, and I always go home feeling really good about the work I’ve done that day even if it’s the longest day ever, I feel really good about the work that I do.
BILL: Well, well that’s very, very rewarding. Jake, same question to you. What’s the best part, what’s the most fun, what do you like most?
JAKE: Um, I like the diversity in my weekly schedule, or even just day to day. Um, like Katie was saying, a 12 hours shift doesn’t really feel like a 12 hour shift when you’re moving from site to site, going out in the community, doing different activities. And I also love, not only room for advancement in the company, but room for advancement personally, in terms of personal growth.
BILL: I hadn’t thought about that, but that, that’s greatness, isn’t it? Yeah.
JAKE: Yeah, and uh, and just that feeling of, um, being satisfied with your work from that day and reflecting on how you’re growing as a person, helping other people enhance their quality of life and enhancing your own along the way.
BILL: Sure, I can, uh, I can see that. Now, Mary, now there’s something special coming up, um, towards the end of September, what’s, what’s happening?
MARY: We are having a big push for hiring, so we have a recruitment fair on Saturday, September 30th from 11-2, and that’s in our Ferndale office.
BILL: Mhmm, tell everybody where the Ferndale office is.
MARY: It’s off of Pacific Highway, on Pacific Place, we’re in the same building as Express Electric. That’s the first test, can you find us, right?
BILL: Yeah, if you can find them, then it sounds like you might be a good recruit to work for Cascade. Well, they can probably find it via the website, right?
MARY: Correct. Cascadeconnections.org, and we just want to have a fun day, we’re going to have door prizes, and on the spot interviews, and I think it should be a lot of fun for everyone.
BILL: So, could someone actually come to the recruitment fair, and leave with a job?
BILL: Seriously? Well, everybody needs to go there! Now, that’s 11 to 2, and that’s Saturday, September 30th, a big recruitment fair, for, uh Cascade Connections. And, again, where is it going to be in Ferndale?
MARY: Off of Pacific Highway, on Pacific Place, at the end of Pacific Place, in the same building as Express Electric.
BILL: Well, are you two guys going to be there? Helping people get jobs?
JAKE: I hope to, yes, absolutely.
BILL: Yeah? And how about you Katie?
BILL: Yeah, so that’s going to be 11-2. Sounds like a great time and a lot of fun, that’s everybody’s going to, and you’re giving stuff away too.
MARY: Yes, we’ll have door prizes.
BILL: Will there be snacks?
MARY: We are working on snacks, we haven’t, there’s been this big debate about what to have. I mean, I had envisioned George Beanblossom flipping burgers but
BILL: Yeah! That’s what I’m saying, that’s what I want to see. Um, how does George feel about that?
MARY: [laughs] We’re, we’re working on that one. [laughs]
BILL: You’re in the negotiation process?
MARY: That’s correct.
BILL: Well, we have about another 30 seconds to spend with all three of you, and anything else that we haven’t covered that you want to talk about?
MARY: You know, I really just hope that if people even feel like Oh, that might be something that I would want to do, but they’re uncertain, that they would show up to our recruitment fair and talk to some of our employees, talk to people like Jake and Katie, who can put them at ease if they have any questions or concerns. Because once people try it I find that they really like it, and you know, like myself, 16 years later, it can even become a career.
BILL: Yeah, well, Jake and Katie, advocates with Cascade Connections. Thank you so much for coming in, good seeing both of you. Come back any time, you’re welcome, okay?
JAKE: Thank you Bill, appreciate it.
BILL: You bet.
KATIE: Thank you for having me Bill.
MARY: Thank you!
BILL: And, Mary Nestle-Klyn, you are welcome back any time. Residential Administrator with Cascade Connections. And again the website, if they want more info about the recruitment fair?
MARY: cascadeconnections.org. And we will also be posting information on our Facebook, or you can call me. (360) 714-9355 extension 114.
BILL: Well, the door is always open, I want you to do me a favor and come back after the recruitment fair and tell me all the great success stories, okay?
MARY: I think we’ll have lots. I have a good feeling about this.
BILL: I hope so too. Good seeing you again Mary.
BILL: We will continue with Community Connection here on KGMI News Talk 790, KGMI.com, and on the FM dial, 96.5 FM in Bellingham.