At posAbilities, the individuals on our team help make the great work we do possible! Each team member contributes their unique skill sets, backgrounds, knowledge, and of course has a story to tell.

Meet Community Connector, Kaia Kent!

My oldest son was born on the autism spectrum and my journey with him as a young mom led me into this line of work. Before I got into this field, I worked in a variety of different industries – I was a child care provider, a florist, and even owned a tea shop business on Commercial Drive. But it was through my experience of working with my son and understanding how his mind worked, which inspired me to take this path.

I started with posAbilities five and a half years ago as a support worker in one of our day programs. Wanting more stability, I transitioned to working at a few residential homes, on a part-time and casual basis. After four years, I realized I needed something more and looked for a new challenge. I saw a posting come up for the Community Connector role and thought it would be perfect for me. I really cared about the people I supported and I’m a community minded person who enjoys being ‘on the go’ and this position merged my two interests.

As a Community Connector, you never have a set schedule and you have to be comfortable with adapting on the fly. There are days when your plans suddenly change and you have to switch gears. As much as my job is working 1-1 with participants, I’m always out exploring the community – forging those relationships, bringing them together with the people I support, and watching those connections grow.

I can definitely see the impact I create through this work. We work with participants over the course of one year and as it’s time-limited, we really only see the first few ripple effects. But it goes far beyond that. We kind of work outside the system, advocating for folks to adventure outside of their comfort zone and try something new. It’s all about finding those opportunities – big or small. But the most rewarding thing I see is that people start trusting themselves more, because they are finding their voice. It isn’t always easy though – it’s often three steps forward and two steps back. And it certainly has been challenging this last while. My team had to pivot and adapt like we’ve never had to before. We had to learn how to be community connectors in a pandemic world.

If there’s a particular moment when I realized that this was the job for me, it was when I was working with a young man at the beginning of the pandemic. He graduated from high school four years ago and was spending most of his time at home, not pursuing any friendships or connecting with community groups. He started with Explore and created some goals and an action plan, then was referred to me to start going out and working on his hopes and dreams. With everything so restricted, it was a real challenge, but his willingness to learn how to use Zoom and emails brought him so much. After three months, his mood and energy changed as he was making new friends online, consistently showing up to volunteer at online parties and dating events, and even started hosting his own event through CoMakeDo. He taught me the power of patience and that a positive mindset can take you places you never could have dreamed.

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Photos by Maxine Tamoto, Malumi Photography –