Kent, Sally and Greta Schenkel have experienced a long and passionate history with Pathfinder Services, spanning more than 40 years. It is a relationship both personal and professional. Kent remembers fondly his years as Board president and later as Pathfinder Foundation president for a combined total of 10 very active years on the business side, noting in particular his involvement in the building of the State Street facility. Sally, too, was a former Pathfinder Services Board member and a teacher at Kids Kampus when it was located on State Street.
Their daughter Greta attended the Village School in a pre-school class for children with disabilities. When she became of school-age, she was enrolled in a kindergarten class at Lincoln Elementary School, and later transferred to a class for trainable developmentally disabled children. Greta’s pre-high school years were spent at Northwest Elementary, and her Huntington North High School class was the first class of developmentally disabled students to graduate from the high school.
Greta loves to help others, so it was a natural transition from student to volunteer. She was a regular volunteer at Lancaster Elementary School for a couple of years, and later she went on to volunteer at Kids Kampus for 21 years. “You had to make her take a day off,” says her mother. Unfortunately, she could no longer fulfill her volunteer responsibilities due to dementia, but she has successfully transferred to day services four days a week and manufacturing at the State Street facility one day a week. She’s “taking it easy now,” says Sally.
Greta, who is 42 years old and a bit gray on top, says she has always enjoyed her relationship with Pathfinder Services. She laughs at the comment that she is “good-natured,” which served her well all those years as a Kids Kampus “professional” volunteer, says Kent. “She helped with the laundry, with the meals, read to the little kids and worked with them on crafts,” says Sally, and to this day Greta continues to send birthday cards to many of the children she worked with all those years ago.
Life for Greta would have been much different had there not been a Pathfinders to nurture Greta into adulthood. “I don’t know how people without organizations such as Pathfinder Services did it,” says Sally. “People with disabilities were kept at home their entire lives,” adds Kent. “Pathfinder Services opened doors for families and their children.”
“Greta belongs,” says her mother. “She has her life, her friends, her apartment, her independence. She has confidence and purpose in life, and can do things that at one time people thought were not possible.”