How Kalisha Doty Found a Home at the Ballpark

October marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Bethesda is celebrating with the theme “What Work Means to Me,” through social media. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to see our latest posts.

Kalisha Doty wouldn’t settle for any job.

A lifelong sports lover, she wanted to work in the world of sports. The Fort Wayne TinCaps, a minor league baseball team in Kalisha’s hometown, was where she decided to try her hand.

Her mother, Gloria, contacted the team to see if Kalisha could volunteer in some capacity. “They said they don’t have volunteers,” Gloria said. “But they would give her an opportunity and see how she does.”

Kalisha served as a greeter, welcoming people to ParkView Field and handing out game programs with the support of a Bethesda staff member. “Kalisha likes meeting new people and has a great sense of humor,” said Shelia Embry, a Bethesda Program Manger. “Greeting people when they came into the park was a good fit.”

latest-news_Story-preview_Employment_Supports-20151015Kalisha loved it and decided to apply for a job the following season. Shelia accompanied her to the interview. Shelia said, “At the end, Kalisha asked, ‘Are you guys gonna give me my dream job or what?’”

The next day, the TinCaps called with a job offer. During most games the last two seasons, Kalisha’s smile is the first thing fans see after coming through the gate.

Michael Limmer, Vice President of Marketing and Promotions for the TinCaps, has seen her grow throughout her time with the team. “I’ve seen her increase her confidence and her comfort level,” he said. “She works the busiest gate now and does a fantastic job.”

She gets paid, but that is only the start of what Kalisha loves about her job. “She has had jobs over the years through other agencies,” Gloria said. “Bethesda realizes people like Kalisha need a job they feel good about … that they want to get dressed up and go to. Being there with the people and being part of it, that’s her pay. She feels like she belongs.”

According to Gloria, who wrote a book about raising Kalisha, her daughter is proud to be part of the TinCaps, and they’ve treated her well. “I can’t say enough good about them,” Gloria said. “They are very family oriented. They’ve been very good to her.”

The positive feeling is mutual. “We pride ourselves on customer service,” Michael said. “She would not be in this role if she weren’t fully qualified. She brings a smile and a positive attitude that sets the tone for our fans’ experience. Kalisha being part of our team has been a great fit for her and a great fit for us.”

“I like my fans and my co-workers,” Kalisha said. “I feel like I’m at home when I’m there.”

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