Kathy Baumgardner will tell you about her love for working with seniors and her passion toward projects that help others. But she won’t tell you to get praise, applause or glorification. It’s just who she is.
“I really just have a servant heart,” she said. “I have so much passion for seniors — they need us just as much as our youth do.”
Kathy B, as she is lovingly called, has been with the CarDon & Associates family for 17 years. She was already working in the senior housing industry when she learned about the building of CarDon’s Bell Trace Senior Living community in Bloomington.
“I heard about the CarDon family of communities and the type of quality service they offer with a focus on serving residents and their families with dignity and respect, and I was intrigued,” Kathy said. “CarDon is committed to inspired living and compassionate care, and my heart is right there aligned with them.”
Baumgardner started out on the Bell Trace campus for three years and then moved to CarDon corporate for 14 years.
“I’ve held many different positions from human resources to operations — I’ve had the opportunity to really grow and intermingle with a lot of wonderful people,” she said.
“Kathy started her career with us at Bell Trace and continues to wear so many different hats,” said CarDon Chief Marketing Officer Kendra Fauth-Edwards. “Not only does she do amazing things within the CarDon walls, but she volunteers in many ways throughout the community. She also continues to travel around the world on various mission-driven trips.”
Indeed, Baumgardner’s servant heart takes her to all corners of the globe to help others. She’s been to Haiti, Guatemala, India and will soon be headed to Costa Rica.
“My husband and I have raised our children on the importance of service, and we’ve been a part of several mission trips with our church as well as BarnRaisers, an organization that addresses children’s issues locally and abroad.” She is also one of the four CarDon employees serving on the BarnRaisers board.
BarnRaisers of Indiana focuses on raising and distributing funds for sustainable projects that can improve the health and quality of orphaned or underprivileged children and youth. Since 2012, more than $200,000 has been raised to help children and youth in need locally and globally.
Local projects include Hear Indiana, St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf and Camptown in Indianapolis.
One of the global projects was for the Msamaria Centre for Street Children in Tanzania. The orphanage had lots of children to feed and not nearly enough food to properly care for everyone. The Centre’s director had a vision for a sustainable chicken project to help feed the children, and with BarnRaisers support, it has been a success. The Centre has enough food to feed all the orphans, and extra funds generated from the project have helped with the purchase of books and computers.
“Through BarnRaisers, we have also partnered up with The Village Experience to help coordinate some of our mission trips,” Kathy said. “You go in to serve, but it’s also a cultural experience to learn what it’s like to live in that particular place. When I went to Haiti, I lived in the village the whole time with the people who live and work there. When you’re living somewhere where there is so much poverty and there is a lack of fresh water, it just encourages you to want to do whatever you can to help. It’s such a humbling experience.”
Her drive to make a difference in life applies to her work as well.
“My soul is just so passionate for the individual,” she said. “If anyone is suffering or needs something, I want to help — not just seniors, but also my associates and colleagues. We take care of people, and that’s what I live by.”
Having lost her mother, Baumgardner is so grateful for those people serving seniors. And it means the world to her to have that same role.
“Our profession is one you can feel you’ve made a difference in the lives of others, and there’s not many jobs that give you the opportunity to say that,” she said. “Whether it’s for fellow associates or residents and their families, I want to help others and make a difference.” And she does.