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It’s Kevin’s Turn

April 20th, 2022

Kevin playing Ping Pong with client

For over 12 years, Kevin has been building up the recreational sport community at Turnstone as the program coordinator; but his experience as part of the Turnstone family began much earlier in his life. Kevin came to Turnstone as a young child using a wide variety of services - receiving therapy, attending the Kimbrough Early Learning Center and later on, playing on Turnstone’s competitive sports teams. 

Right out of high school, wheelchair basketball coach and Kevin’s mentor, Bob Burnsworth, told him Turnstone really needed a team for younger kids. Bob thought Kevin would do a great job teaching kids who would be brand new to the sport.  

“Like anyone going to college, I was overwhelmed with adjusting to college life, let alone trying to mentor these younger kids trying wheelchair basketball for the first time. But, I did it. I started the program and then went on to start the sled hockey program at Turnstone as well,” said Kevin.

Post-college graduation, Kevin was working for The League while still coaching at Turnstone - helping with tennis, basketball, sled hockey, and other activities as needed. He was helping out during a time of massive growth and was offered a job to do the things he loved volunteering for; Kevin couldn’t have created a better-fitting job if he tried. 

When he first went to college, he didn’t see himself working in the nonprofit world even though he spent so much time at Turnstone growing up. 12 years later, he couldn’t think of anywhere he’d rather be. 

“What I love about this job is that it’s bigger than sports. What I do is so much about the administrative tasks of providing people with sports opportunities. I have a huge passion for it and I know the importance of it. I know how much sports at Turnstone shaped my life - I know how much it will change other people’s as well.”

Coach Bob, also a wheelchair user, was the first person that Kevin remembers being able to identify with. Bob gave Kevin the inspiration to follow whatever his passion was - it was then he realized he could have the same goals as his siblings. Kevin said, “Most kids are just like me - attending school and they are the only person like them. I really strive to create a space full of community for these kids.”

The community that Kevin has helped foster among both recreational and competitive athletes at Turnstone has everyone feeling more like extended family. 

“Both individually and combined, Turnstone’s sports & recreation programs are very connected. It’s been neat to be a part of that - I feel like I have a special place in each of their families and I love that each family makes me feel welcomed and like I belong. At times, I feel like a school teacher - I get invited to graduations, weddings and it’s special being able to be a part of someone’s big moments for the majority of their life.”

Kevin told a story that really drove home the importance of community: there was an individual who, before coming to Turnstone and joining the sports & recreation program, was in a very low place. They had no sense of belonging, no one to relate to, and no feelings of purpose in life. Fast forward a few years, and many positive changes could be seen in the individual- their personality, motivation in school, relationships with friends, and overall mindset were dramatically different. 

Turnstone’s sports & recreation program provides hope and a sense of belonging to people with disabilities in Northeast Indiana and It’s Kevin’s Turn to continue fostering a community full of supportive and caring people.

You can support Kevin's community here! 

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