BILL: That, that guy with the big voice you just heard announced the show, I guess I didn’t, I don’t need to repeat anything he said except that it is Community Connection, I’m Bill Davis, your host. As always, our platform is 96.5 FM, News Talk 790 AM, and we’re on the World Wide Web, that WWW thing that all the kids are talking about, and uh that’s at KGMI.com. Also, by the way, quick mention, if you missed any of our shows, you can always go to KGMI.com, our podcast page, cause we load those up instantly, so that you can listen again and again and again. And I know that’s what Mary Nestle-Klyn does, with, uh, Cascade Connections. You, you spend all your time listening to the podcasts, don’t you?
MARY: Uh, well, sure, Bill. [laughs] I mean, they’re kind of fun to add to Facebook.
BILL: I’m sorry, I mean, I just wrote that script out for you and you completely went off script [laughs]. We’re speaking with Mary Nestle-Klyn. She’s the uh, the, you know I always, your title always confuses me. You’re the Residential Administrator Coordinator Boss Lady?
MARY: Yeah, I, sometimes they throw contracts person in there too. I don’t know.
BILL: Yeah, give me the exact title.
MARY: Residential Contracts Administrator.
BILL: Which means she administrates residential contracts.
BILL: I’m a real smart, there is no off position on my genius switch when I figure out your title. Yeah.
MARY: It also means I clean gutters, and you know.
BILL: Yeah, you do a little bit of everything.
MARY: Yeah I wear lots of different hats.
BILL: You know, I haven’t seen you for a while. Uh, she, by the way Mary is with Cascade Connections, um, when was the last time you and I spoke, I feel like it was a few weeks ago, wasn’t it? Months ago, maybe?
MARY: Um, I think it might have been a couple of months ago. It was before our recruitment event that we had.
BILL: Did I, did I do something to tick you off? Were you, were you in the, what do that call it, the program where they keep people hidden, you know what the FBI does, yeah, yeah, have you been doing that?
MARY: [laughs] The witness protection program?
BILL: Yeah, yeah, you didn’t do that?
MARY: No, no, I’ve just been busy.
BILL: I figured as much, you have brought people with you. It is a crowded studio today, so why don’t you tell us who’s here.
MARY: Well, we have Becky Cole, who is
BILL: Hello Becky Cole, nice seeing you
BECKY: Hello, good morning
MARY: And Becky is a manager in our Lynden Supported Living program, and we have Mekayla, who is an advocate at our Bellingham Supported Living program.
BILL: I’m assuming you advocate, from time to time.
MEKAYLA: Yeah, I do, indeed.
BILL: Mkay, well, what are we going to talk about today?
MARY: Well, I’d like to talk about staffing and hiring, really, at Cascade, in order to serve more people, we need to hire more people.
BILL: Before we do that, tell everybody what Cascade Connections does.
MARY: We serve people with disabilities throughout Whatcom County in a variety of different ways. We help people residentially, we also help people vocationally, to get jobs and supported employment.
BILL: So you’re hiring now, right?
MARY: We’re always hiring! Um, yeah, and again, in order for us to serve more clients, we have a huge waitlist, we need to hire, and we need to get people in that are passionate about the job, so I thought I’d bring these gals in to talk about why they chose to work for Cascade and why other people should choose to work for Cascade.
BILL: Oh, excellent. Well, we’re going to let them do the heavy lifting then. Becky, how long have you been with Cascade by the way?
BECKY: I’ve been with Cascade, for, well, just over a year and a half.
BILL: Yeah, Mhmm. So, fulfilling, I assume?
BECKY: It’s very fulfilling. Yes.
BILL: Yeah, so, so what made you decide to go to work for them?
BECKY: Um, well, quite honestly, I was a music teacher and
BECKY: And kind of left that field to
BILL: Are you an instrument player as well?
BECKY: Um, more vocal.
BILL: Okay, gotcha. Okay.
BECKY: Left that field because I was a bit burned out, needed a change, and I have found this to be a great fit for me.
BILL: Boy, well that seems like 180 degrees.
BILL: Isn’t it, going from music teacher to this.
BECKY: Well, in a lot of ways you’re still serving, you’re still serving people. As a teacher you’re serving kids, teaching children how to do things, um, and in this field, as a manager now, it’s enjoyable and fulfilling to teach staff and train them to be successful as a caregiver. Um, and also it’s been great just learning a new trade.
BILL: I’m going to ask you basically, what you do. We know now you’ve been there a year, and it’s very fulfilling. So what exactly do you do?
BECKY: Well I was a caregiver, direct support staff, for a while, and then I became and Advocate like Mekayla. And I really learned how to advocate for clients, at doctors’ offices, and in their daily living at home. And now as a manager, I’m just learning how to… well, my job has been changing, but right now
BILL: Well, so, we’ve talked to Mary Nestle-Klyn about this all the time
BILL: That, uh, every day is exactly the same.
BILL: Nothing changes on your eight-hour day, right? No, no, I mean, from what I understand, every day is totally different.
BECKY: It is, it is, but right now, just focusing on making sure our staff feel comfortable in the homes, knowing, helping them understand what they’re supposed to be doing, how to care for our clients. And then also the paperwork behind the scenes. The plans, the state plans that need to be written, and keeping up on employee files, that kind of thing in the office.
BILL: Sure. Well, you mention Mekayla, who is with us. And you’re, you’re the, is it just Advocate, or is there a longer title?
MEKAYLA: No, I’m just an advocate at the moment.
BILL: Wait, just a minute, I said just an advocate.
BILL: I did not mean to diminish you at all.
MEKAYLA: No, no. [laughs]
BILL: So, how long have you been with Cascade?
MEKAYLA: Uh, with Cascade I’ve been about a year and a half.
BILL: Yeah, yeah. What was your background? Where did you come from?
MEKAYLA: So, I actually worked in a daycare and I was in school before I came to this job. And, honestly, I did not know what this job was until I went to my interview, and I was just looking for an overnight job to get me through school. And it ended up, after the interview, I was thinking, like, I want to do this job.
BILL: It suddenly turned into a career.
MEKAYLA: It turned into a career, and I started out for almost a year doing overnights, uh, working with certain clients and
BILL: So what does and Advocate do?
MEKAYLA: An Advocate, well, we help facilitate, we help make sure that they’re able to get out, make sure they’re meeting their goals they’re chosen, um, making sure staff know what they’re doing, if they have any questions, we’re the ones to go to for those clients, and it’s just really fun.
BILL: I mentioned this a minute ago with Becky, pretty fulfilling?
MEKAYLA: Yes, yes, within that year, I realized I wanted to do more than just overnights.
BILL: And, Mary, I assume you like hearing that uh from your staff.
MARY: It makes me really happy, and I thought, you know I thought Mekayla and Becky had interesting stories for how they came to Cascade that your audience might be able to relate to. It might spark some curiosity, you know. We’ve actually had a large number of teachers come to work for us. You know, Becky and I were chatting on our way here that off the top of my head, there’s like 10 teachers I can think of that came to work for us, cause its’ a great
BILL: It sounds like the skill set can transfer over.
MARY: Yeah, and people who remain teachers sometimes too, and work for us on the weekends, and we’re really flexible and they can increase their hours over the summer and then you know, like Mekayla, who is a student, we’re a great place for students to work. You get lots of homework done on those overnight shifts.
BILL: Yeah, yeah I can imagine so. So, Becky, if someone is thinking about working at Cascade Connections, what would you tell them?
BECKY: Well, I think everyone should give a year of their life to try this. Um, there’s a need, and I think that you learn, by learning all the new skills that are offered, you do gain a lot of life long skills that you do end up using even with your own parents, or as a caregiver. We all get older, our parents all get older, and you find yourself in that caregiving role. And Cascade pays for your training, so that’s a huge positive thing there for this company. And I think that if people are struggling, or wanting something a little different in their life, they should give this a try.
BILL: Mekayla, anything to add to that?
MEKAYLA: Um, I mean, I’ve also seen people who have come in and helped me with their life experiences. I haven’t experienced anything, but I’ve learned so much from other staff who have come in and in return they help clients learn something new. We’ve had people come in and teach our clients woodworking and photography. It’s just amazing to see our clients also grow, along with the staff, cause the staff never thought that they could get a job where they could work with their skills. And we always, and I love watching people grow with that.
BILL: Well, Mary Nestle-Klyn, now that everyone has heard this and are all saying I want to work for Cascade Connections, so how to they go about getting ahold of you guys?
MARY: They can look us up online, cascadeconnections.org. We’re also on Facebook, and they can certainly give us a call. (360) 714-9355. Exciting news, I no longer have an extension I have to remember Bill!
BILL: Nice, nice. You have a direct line?
MARY: We have a live person who answers the phone now, and you can just ask for Mary, and he will transfer you and I can walk anyone through the steps for how to apply online.
BILL: You’ve joined the 21st Century.
MARY: Yeah [laughs]
BILL: Nice. Well, it’s been good seeing you Mary. Mary Nestle-Klyn, and Becky and Mekayla. You guys are welcome back anytime, if you want to come back and see us, okay?
MARY: Thank you, thank you.
BILL: Excellent. We will continue here with Community Connection as our friends from Cascade Connections depart the studios. See, I didn’t mess it up this time! How about that? Here on, like I said, Community Connection, Talk News 790, KGMI.com, 96.5 FM in Bellingham.