Area manager of community living services at Hope Haven in Rock Valley
ROCK VALLEY—The room for growth has been important to Kimber Patterson in her career at Hope Haven in Rock Valley, but helping others grow is what drew her to social work.
Hope Haven has been a central force in Patterson’s life since she started as a direct support professional in 2007.
“I actually met my husband working at Hope Haven,” she said. “We were both working direct care when we had our ICF (intermediate care facility).”
Patterson always knew she wanted to help people, but she did not always know how she wanted to help. She was considering nursing school or a premedical program. After speaking with friends in the nursing field she decided she wanted to do something different.
“I’m a people person. I love to talk to people. The medical needs of somebody is a small part of their overall needs,” Patterson said. “Looking at social work, there were so many avenues I could go into. It seemed like that would be a different way to help people.”
She and her husband, Chris, briefly left Iowa in the summer of 2013 to pursue an opportunity in Charlotte, NC. Chris was working for A&I in Rock Valley and was transferred to Charlotte. While in the “Queen City,” their daughter Olive was born.
“We thought ‘Before we have a family, let’s try something.’ While we were out there they asked him if he’d be interested in coming back to Rock Valley,” Patterson said. “We took that as a sign that, ‘OK, let’s go home.’ We have a little girl now and we want her to be raised by family.”
The trio returned to Iowa in the winter of 2014.
Patterson promptly returned to Hope Haven and helped clients recover from the flood that struck the area in 2014.
“We had an intermediate care facility that had been destroyed. We had 12 individuals who were displaced and living in the long-term facility in Orange City,” she said. “We renovated one of the homes that got destroyed and built two new homes. I got to be a part of the design of those homes to best meet the needs of the clients that were going to be served in that.”
Patterson became the area manager of community living services in 2016. She oversees 29 departments and 170 staff members. Even with all of that responsibility she remains focused on individuals.
“You can’t lose sight that the business is people and the business will always be people and how do we better serve people,” she said. “You cannot do this job or anything without having love for the people you work with, the people we support.”