Drumming Through Life

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At PRIDE Industries, we employ and serve individuals with a wide range of disabilities. Like all of us, each marches to their own drummer. Kevin, a talented employee of PRIDE, literally does so…and much more. We thought you would like to meet him.

Kevin Harris started work at PRIDE in the mid 80’s. Soon after, he was promoted to be part of the newly established Supported Employment Program. PRIDE’s Supported Employment Program partners with a wide variety of local businesses to meet their contracted workforce needs while creating community based jobs for people with disabilities. Our structured approach provides a support system that includes Job Trainers, Case Manager/Counselors, and Supervisors who understand each person’s disability and are able to help with their day-to-day challenges.

Kevin originally worked with community employers, supported by PRIDE. Today, Kevin feels more comfortable and productive working at a PRIDE business. “I just want the same thing that everybody else does,” Kevin says. “Working, doing what I am doing, it gives me peace of mind.” Currently, Kevin is a Hand Packager at one of PRIDE’s manufacturing facilities, assisting on a variety of contract packaging projects. He’s so focused on work that it’s difficult to get him to pause for an interview – no matter how brief. Kevin is thriving at his current position; it keeps him active, and in a way, it is as though he is performing on stage. Once he finds his rhythm, it is hard to stop him!

Kevin has a disability, but he chooses to emphasize his abilities, including being a hard worker, having a great work ethic, and being a musically talented individual. “I am a percussionist at heart,” Kevin says. “I am versatile, I’ll play anything!”

As a young child, he recalls drumming with the pots and pans in his mother’s kitchen. Later in grade school, he took drum lessons. Today, he imagines how funny it must have been to see a little kid behind a gigantic drum set. As a teenager, he played for a church and in the marching band at his high school. Kevin has vivid memories from high school. He recalls: “I would be in a music room practicing, and the people around me would stop to hear me play. They would be like, ‘damn, this boy knows what he’s doing!’”

Kevin’s talent, combined with being at the right place at the right time created the opportunity of a lifetime. Years ago, he and a friend went see Wayman Tisdale play at a Sacramento club. Tisdale was a multi-talented individual: a professional basketball player, who played for the Sacramento Kings from 1989 -1994, three times All American, elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, and a smooth Jazz bass guitarist. To learn more about Wayman click here.

As fate would have it, that night would be an unforgettable one for Kevin. “I had the pleasure of sitting in with him,” Kevin says. “We played a lot of Jazz and Funk.” After the nightlong jam session, Kevin learned an essential lesson: the importance of synergistic communication between the band members. “If you go where the bass player goes, the bass player is going to go where you go,” Kevin says. “It is about connecting and communicating.”

The two most important things in life for Kevin are music and working. Kevin’s love for music surrounds everything he does. He listens to music while at work all day and at night if he has trouble sleeping. “I don’t plan on retiring, I am just going to play music for as long as I live,” Kevin says. Followed shortly by: “okay, time to go back to work!

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