Kathy Marston Celebrates 20 Years With KenCrest


Community Connection Coach Kathy Marston, celebrates her 20th anniversary with KenCrest.

By Sydney Kerelo

Kathy Marston always dreamed of working with individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability ever since entering the workforce after college. Throughout her career, she has built handicapped-accessible vehicles, run a cleaning crew at the Arc of Allegheny County, and even worked with people with disabilities in Pittsburgh, which brought her to KenCrest.

Over the past two decades, Marston has been a driving force at KenCrest. She started as a program manager and later transitioned to employment. Today, she holds the esteemed position of Community Connection Coach within the Community-Based Services program. In this role, she has the privilege of significantly influencing the lives of many, a responsibility she takes to heart.

"I have always enjoyed working with individuals with disabilities; they're like my children," laughs Marston. "One gentleman I supported wanted to go into radio, and I was fortunate enough that my brother-in-law has his own recording studio. He does a lot of putting wax cylinders on CDs, takes old Chevy eights, and puts them on CDs. He allowed us to go to his studio and had this gentleman help him. He even held my brother-in-law's Grammy!"

It was an incredible moment for Marston and one she will remember for the rest of her life. Seeing the look on this gentleman's face and how excited he was to live out his dream motivated her and filled her with a sense of fulfillment and purpose. It encouraged her to continue working with individuals with disabilities, knowing she is making a real difference in their lives.

Marston even received an Empowering Dreams Pin from KenCrest for supporting this individual a few years ago. There are three pins that an employee at KenCrest can receive: Exploring Possibilities, Mobilizing Resources, and Empowering Dreams—all of these pins are a part of the KenCrest culture and reflect the three missions of the organization. The Empowering Dreams pin is given to employees who make the dreams and goals of those we support become a reality, which is precisely what she did with this gentleman.

KenCrest is a leading provider of community-based services for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. As a Community Connection Coach, Marston works within KenCrest's Community-Based Services program. This program provides in-home and community support to individuals who reside at home with their family, in a residential setting, or in Lifesharing. The program is designed to provide habilitation services that help people learn and acquire daily living skills, companion care, respite services, options to explore different interests, hobbies, and activities, and specialized skill development.

Currently, Marston dedicates her time to supporting three individuals. Her responsibilities span a wide range, from assisting with daily hygiene and verbal skills to providing job coaching and organizing volunteering opportunities at organizations like the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, and local churches. She also imparts essential life skills such as road safety, reading, writing, cooking, and money management.

“We all need help along the way,” says Marston. “And it only makes it better if we’re all helping each other along the way. We all need a friend, and that’s what I try to be.”