Helping high schoolers is true calling for SJVC advisor
It was not that many years ago that Kevin Caldwell was struggling to find his way toward a meaningful and successful future – not unlike so many of those high school seniors he now advises in the course of his position at SJVC’s Temecula campus.
At the time, he and his wife Marcella were expecting their fourth child when he was laid off work. Uncertainty stretched out before them. “You have more to give than what was in this job,” Marcella told Kevin. “She was right. It was a blessing in disguise that I was out of work,” says Kevin.
Kevin took a strong look at his natural abilities and interests. “I’ve always had a passion for helping people find their inner potential and helping them to see there are doors that can open. Coaching, motivating, advising, teaching – those are all things that led me back to school,” he says.
With his wife’s total support and encouragement, Kevin earned his Bachelor’s degree in Human Development. Marcella’s budding photography business kept them afloat.
Although Kevin started to work for SJVC over four years ago, he only recently began his position as High School Admissions Advisor. It was a meant-to-be kind of thing.
“Getting into schools and classrooms, being in front of those faces looking at you and wanting to know why you’re there and what you have to say, is the best part,” says Kevin. “I am someone who can give them sound advice about their future, give them questions they should be asking themselves, teachers and colleges to help them determine their career future.”
Kevin also takes this opportunity to give them important criteria for making a career decision. “I tell them not to pursue something just because of the pay, perks, job security or a field with advancement,” he says. “Make sure those things are in place too, but do what fulfills you. If you’re not doing what you love, you’re not going to be happy.”
Kevin takes his own advice for career satisfaction. “I really enjoy sitting down with them (high school seniors) and their parents in my office. I’m a parent too, and I understand how parents want the best for them. Many of these students thought it was community college, university or nothing. SJVC is a really good alternative for those who don’t see themselves going four years or in community college.”
An important message Kevin gives these high school seniors fearful of moving forward is the same truth he passes on to his children, Kaliana (13), Tyler (9), Tymorie (7), and McKenzie (4). “There are only two things in life that you can control: Your attitude and your effort. Your character and your actions determine who you are and how far you will go – and that will show.”
As a father and Sunday School teacher, Kevin has always had meaningful life experiences and sage advice to share with young people. But his ability to mentor took on a greater depth just after his third child was born. “Back then, I was just going through the motions of going to church because I thought it was good for my kids,” says Kevin. “I didn’t have strong relationships with people and I was just too selfish. I decided to change that and realized that I had to put all of my faith and trust in God for my life to excel.”
It was a powerful turnaround that gave him the freedom to approach all things with love in his heart. “I had no direction until I turned my life around,” says Kevin. “I am a completely different person now. I have patience and am happy. I wasn’t like that before.”
Kevin feels that soul-purpose connection with SJVC. “What we do at the College is change people’s lives,” he says. “I wanted to have an impact on people’s lives, too, so when this position came up I thought, ‘OK, let’s see where this can go.’”
Things began to line up. “Everything this school stands for is right in line with who I am and what I’ve become,” says Kevin.
Kevin will continue to push himself to find his highest level of positive influence. He has had experience in all phases of admissions and thinks he might get to know the academic side of things, as well as career services. “Getting experience in all those phases will help me to help the College grow.”
Kevin is going deeper. Students, colleagues and administrators at the college can only benefit from Kevin’s expanded realm of influence.