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Discovering your personal genius

At Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS) we are blessed with many opportunities to collaborate with other nonprofit organizations. One such organization is Kaposia, a local nonprofit that led Nathan Barclay, a talented pianist, to Johanna Shores in Arden Hills, MN. Nathan, or the “Master of Keys” as he calls himself, plays for residents at the senior living community. As a result of the partnership, Johanna Shores was recently selected as the Employer of the Year by Kaposia.

It’s a perfect win/win situation.  

Kaposia has helped thousands of individuals with disabilities find meaningful work that aligns with that person’s strengths and goals. As an organization they believe that each person is valuable and should be treated with dignity and respect. They are committed to each person they serve discovering their potential and personal genius, and they are passionate about challenging each person to succeed. We couldn’t agree more. 

Creating music and smiles

About two years ago, Nathan Barclay began visiting Johanna Shores twice a week to play piano in the arbor memory care and the care center. Johanna Shores Campus Administrator Blake Boche shared, “Nathan has such a gift, not only in playing the piano (which is amazing!), but with connecting to those he plays for. Nathan’s time with us is enriching because he doesn’t just perform, he invites people into his playing and helps them feel a part of what he is creating.” 

What does Nathan create while he plays piano for the residents? In a word: smiles. “Playing piano for other people is what I like to do; I like to entertain people” said Nathan. So twice a week the residents are blessed with Nathan’s masterful playing and Nathan is blessed with meaningful work that highlights his strengths. He has been ‘tickling the ivories’ since he was just five years old and is mostly self-taught. “It can be difficult for me to read music and so I just play by ear. I learn to play from YouTube videos or listening to music,” he said. 

Johanna Shores Employer of the Year

The Kaposia Employer of the Year Award was presented to Johanna Shores at their annual gala. A team of Kaposia employees, the CEO and the Board of Directors selected Johanna Shores as a company that is willing to see the best in their employees, put their potential to work, treat them well and offer professional and personal growth. 

Blake Boche shared, “I believe collaborating with Kaposia is very much in line with our mission.  Kaposia’s goal is to help individuals find meaningful engagement in the work world. Our goal is to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults. Our Kaposia friends bring smiles to our resident’s eyes when they help us engage residents in activities while I believe PHS contributes to their sense of purpose and meaning through career opportunities serving older adults.”  

Nathan’s performances are highly anticipated. As he shares his musical gifts, the room reverberates with applause and Nathan’s smile lights up the room. “I love it, it’s fascinating, and it makes me happy” he concluded.

Check out this video from Kaposia for a glimpse into Nathan’s work at Johanna Shores


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