Almost 40 years ago, Mary Burke’s youngest child went off to kindergarten, and Mary went out to sell encyclopedias door-to-door. She quickly learned that wasn’t her gift, but she didn’t quite know what her gift was.
Eager to help her friend, who was a nurse affiliated with Pathfinder Services, Mary applied for a job opening in adult daily activities. Though she lacked the self-confidence to believe she had the necessary skills for the job, the woman who hired her knew she’d do well. And in that vision, a thirty-three year employment partnership began between Mary and Pathfinder Services.
She dove right in, working immediately to improve the activities for the adults in the program. She worked part time, in the afternoons, and though they stayed inside most of the time, she believed they could make better use of their hours, so she taught them to bag popcorn and do other productive things.
After a few years of working with adults, Mary took a job with the preschool, which later became Kids Kampus. She loved working with the kids, and going on field trips with them and seeing them thrive and grow.
While she may have been unsure of her gifts forty years ago, she’s uncovered her passions in the time that has passed, and she leans on those to guide her service to Pathfinder Services now. She works to educate people in the community, so they know the organization goes beyond helping those with physical and mental disabilities.
She may have left the Pathfinder Services payroll, but Mary’s heart couldn’t abandon the organization entirely. She became a volunteer and has served in a variety of positions, primarily helping now with staff support at Kids Kampus. One of Mary’s favorite forms of service is the Kids Kampus Turkey Trot 5K fundraiser, which she’s involved with annually. In fact, 5K races are one of Mary’s big personal passions. She learned several years ago that she loves doing 5Ks and has set a goal to participate in one in as many states as she can.
Mary is a proud wife, mother, and grandmother, participant in her church choir and volunteer at the food pantry, but her heart is tender toward the mission of Pathfinder Services. She’s proud to continue her partnership with an organization that reaches farther into the community than most ever know.