Growing up, Kyle’s parents taught him that, when it comes to choosing a career, be in it for what you want to do, not for the money.
Kyle took that lesson to heart. When he decided to go back to school to get his master’s degree in health and physical education, he had one goal in mind: becoming a P.E. teacher and impacting the lives of kids.
But financing an undergraduate and graduate education is an expensive endeavor for any family, let alone a family affected by an on-the-job injury like Kyle’s.
Kyle’s parents had always had bigger aspirations for their children’s futures. “We wanted Kyle and his sisters to be able to do something more than what my husband did,” Jamie, Kyle’s mother, recalled. “Yes, working in a steel mill is great money, but it does take a toll on your body. We wanted them to have more of a career.”
Jamie and her husband had that vision for their children long before Kyle’s father suffered a severe back injury — on the job in a steel mill.
Forging a different path to success was particularly important to Kyle as well, since his disability made it challenging for him to follow in his father’s footsteps. He realized, however, he could make a meaningful impact on his community in the classroom — a decision Kyle’s parents were all too thrilled to support, if they could find the funds to make it happen.
A meeting with the family’s workers’ compensation mediator made all the difference. “He happened to work with Kids' Chance, and he said to us, ‘Oh, you're going to have two kids in college,’” Jamie said. “‘You could probably use our help.’”
She immediately went home and got in contact with Kids’ Chance of Indiana (KCIN). Within a week or two of applying, Kyle found out he and his younger sister, Courtney, would receive scholarships.
“My vision for my future is educating children, especially inner-city youth,” Kyle said. “Kids’ Chance is making this a possibility, and hopefully I can use this opportunity to affect other kids' lives.”
For both mother and son, working with Kids’ Chance was easy. “It's not like I had to jump through a hundred hoops,” Kyle remembered. “I filled out my application, sent it in, had some conversations, and then we were good to go.”
Jamie echoed that sentiment. “Things have gone flawlessly. Kids' Chance made it possible for both kids to go to the schools of their choosing, and to know that they’re willing to help us again next year is awesome.”
Now one year closer to his dream of educating at-risk youth, the Kids’ Chance mission is more vital to Kyle than ever before. “I was given a chance by Kids’ Chance to give others a chance,” he said. “It's not just about the student, it's also about the community. Those students can go and impact the world with the education that they get.”