As Kelly Murphy sits at a table in the corner of The Trolley Café at the Old Bag Factory, she thinks about her 30 years with ADEC. A look spreads across her face, a smile that looks both incredulous and full of amazement.
“Has it really been 30 years?” she says, putting her hand against her face. “It doesn’t feel anything like that.”
But it has been 30 years for Kelly, who works in supported living at ADEC. She graduated from Goshen High School and worked at Johnson Controls for 10 years right out of high school. She took a pay cut to come to ADEC, knowing that she wanted to do something more fulfilling with her life.
On the advice of her aunt, she applied at ADEC in 1988 and found herself working part-time at the a women’s group home in Goshen.
“You’re multitasking big time,” she says. “Every day is something different, and that’s a good thing.”
One of her clients, Dianna Weldy, estimates they’ve been working together for roughly 25 years. Kelly’s taught her how to pay bills, keep receipts, get groceries and even helped her get a job.
“We have lots of fun together, she’s the best,” Dianna says with a big smile. “We have a ball!”
One day, Kelly saw one of her persons served trying to cook an entire package of hot dogs, still in their plastic wrap, in the oven. She realized her clients didn’t know how to cook, so she started giving them cooking lessons.
“They [Individuals ADEC serves] all felt so important and so good,” Kelly says. “People learned how to do dishes, they learned how to set tables, clean up after themselves and eat properly. They were successful making meals.”
While she loves teaching, one of her favorite memories involves a trip to Disney World. She took three clients and had to take several trains in what she says is one of the most unforgettable experiences of her life.
In supported living, clients learn how to set budgets, manage their money and live lives full of choice and possibility. In the case of Kelly’s clients, they planned a trip to Disney, from where they stayed to what they ate and getting their tickets.
“Seeing their faces and them saying ‘Wow, this is magical,’ it was so amazing,” Kelly says.
When she’s not helping the individuals ADEC serves, Kelly has hobbies to keep herself busy. One of her hobbies is stargazing, which she and her husband both enjoy.
To maximize stargazing, they built an observatory with a large telescope. As much as she likes looking at the stars, Kelly’s clients see her as the brightest star of all.
Another client, Bonnie Springer, says Kelly is one of the most fun people she’s ever met.
“We go shopping, Christmas partying, cooking, I love everything about her!” Bonnie exclaims.
Kelly also emphasizes the “C” in ADEC, which stands for community. She tries to get her clients out into the community as much as possible. They could do a physical activity like bowling or go to the Old Bag Factory for lunch and shopping.
And after 30 years, she has wisdom for her younger self.
“Be patient. Everybody makes mistakes, so be patient. I have a habit of going gung-ho and being really fast to get stuff done,” Kelly says. “Sometimes it’s better to just wait and see, I’m always afraid that if I don’t get it done, I’ll forget. Just be patient and don’t go so fast with doing things. I’ve always been fast at doing things, and you don’t always have to be.”