Kay the Amazing


Winter 2017/18

Kay the Amazing

ABC is blessed with participants and staff who enjoy a wide range of talents outside of work. This is certainly true for Kay Loftus.

Kay Loftus with painting

Kay Loftus poses with her award-winning painting, “Nature’s Beauty.”

Kay hails from Eyota, Minnesota where she lives with her parents. After coming to ABC in 2002 through the School to Work program, she now works at IBM in Rochester five days a week through the Ability Enterprises program. By all accounts she is a model worker, despite her learning, speech and mobility challenges.

“Kay is great at always making people smile. She loves to show off things that matter to her most, like her art,” said Emily Ellingworth, Kay’s Coordinator at ABC. “She brings lots of positivity to our work environment. She loves to greet people with a thumbs-up, handshake or a big smile. She’s great at bringing people together,” Emily added.

Kay is truly a social butterfly. She is well-liked by her coworkers and other IBM employees and loves to meet new people. She credits ABC with fostering greater independence and improving her social skills.

Without ABC Kay would miss out on all of her social connections, her work and her daily activities. She learns a lot every day. ABC taught her the importance of coming to work each day and working hard. She is particularly grateful for the lessons she has learned and the support she receives from her job coach, JoAnn.

After arriving around 11:15 am, Kay stows her things and has lunch in the IBM cafeteria with other employees until it is time to start work. With JoAnn’s help, she sorts silverware before running it through the dishwasher. She also uses an adaptive spray device to wash tables and then wipes them dry. Once she finishes work she and JoAnn leave IBM to begin their daily recreational activity.

Often this involves working on her art. Kay loves working with JoAnn or her mother on her many art projects.

Kay is an accomplished artist, working in a wide range of mediums. She has won numerous awards for her paintings, textiles and collages. Inspired by weekly art class she took some 15 years ago, she began experimenting with different forms of expression. Kay mostly uses her natural talent, which is what makes her art so lively.

This year marked her 15th submitting artwork to the Arts and Abilities exhibit at Mayo Clinic. She has had her artwork featured numerous times and won several awards. This year she took home top honors in the Fiber Arts category for her mixed media piece entitled “Nature’s Beauty” (see photo above).

Art is just one of Kay’s many activities outside of work. She takes yoga classes at Mayo’s Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center (DAHLC), plays music, sings, plays video games, watches movies and goes bowling or to the mall with her friends.

Kay looks forward to participating in Arts and Ability again next year and is currently brainstorming ideas for next year’s entry. All of us at ABC can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

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