Get to Know Steven Kemplay, Ranch Lead
Steven is a Ranch Lead who has worked at Lakemary for 2 ½ years. He manages the daily upkeep of Lakemary Ranch, which is our garden and animal therapy center. Steven cares for and trains the animals and assists with agricultural education classes that Lakemary School students attend twice a week. He also runs a 1-on-1 program where a child partners with an animal to learn healthy behaviors and strengthen their social skills such as reading body language and observing nonverbal communication.
Steven worked with children prior to Lakemary, and the opportunity to work with kids with both an I/DD and concurrent psychiatric diagnosis was exciting to him. He says, “Understanding that this population is at a greater risk of experiencing abuse and trauma made me feel like I could make a large positive impact in the lives of these kids.”
Lakemary’s PRTF program serves children from all over the country, and the most rewarding part for Steven is building relationships with such a diverse population of kids.
“I had the privilege of working 1-on-1 daily with a child that was part of our PRTF program,” says Steven. “While at Lakemary, this child was continuing to work on minimizing their undesired behaviors and utilizing their coping skills when needed. When emotions escalated, the child struggled with trusting others and, at times, found it difficult to de-escalate without becoming physically aggressive. Working together over time, we created a bond of mutual respect and trust. I became someone they could work through their emotions with and help minimize undesired behaviors. When the child was able to safely discharge from the program, they asked me if I could walk them to their car, which was emotional and very difficult for them. Knowing I was an individual they could trust in a challenging time was something that meant a lot to me. Creating these types of relationships and becoming a mentor for our kids is why I love working at Lakemary.”
If you would like to work at Lakemary and enjoy a rewarding career where you can make a positive difference in the lives of others, browse our open jobs, and apply today!