Want to get to know us a bit better? Meet our team of awesome support providers (and our fearless leaders).
Juli Heath is the Executive Director of Blooms. Raised in a home with a visually challenged parent, Juli has a unique perspective when it comes to disabilities. She’s been a skills trainer, community support specialist, and supported employment provider, working with intellectually and developmentally disabled adults since 2015. This career is the most rewarding experience of her life. Prior to working in this field, Juli put her BA from California State University-Chico to work in the financial and telecommunications industries, within the safety and crisis communications management arenas. Juli was a founding member of the Visa Women’s Network, where she helped plan educational events and opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion initiatives. Having extensive experience in communications and management, she continues working to be an advocate and a voice for all.
In her spare time, Juli also loves traveling, cooking and baking. She’s very crafty and loves learning and teaching all manner of crafts, including scrapbooking, crocheting, working with materials, writing, and coloring. She also likes to get outside, whether to garden or enjoy time in the forest or on the beach.
Erica is the Supported Employment Program Manager. She is an Oregon native, born and raised in southern Oregon. Erica has been working in the supported employment field for five years. She enjoys working with a wide variety of clients with varying needs, abilities, and interests to reach their employment goals and long-term success. Erica was born to be an advocate. Her first language is ASL being born to a deaf mother she understands barriers to employment and is extremely passionate about assisting the individuals she is blessed to be able to support.
In her spare time Erica enjoys being outdoors, snowboarding in the winter and hiking, camping, spending time in the forest or on the beach in the summer months with her two children and German Shepherd.
Erin Cahill is the Community Liaison Director of Blooms. Erin received her BA in Sociology with a Concentration in Direct Care from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She has been working with people who have developmental disabilities since 1998. Her prior jobs have included direct care worker, assistant to behavioral specialists, health office technician, teacher’s aide, job developer, personal support worker and massage therapist. She is also a board member of Off the Couch, a nonprofit that provides social opportunities for adults of all abilities. Erin’s easy going manner and ability to quickly organize fun and exciting outings help bring groups of people together to enjoy daily activities.
Erin spends most of her free time with her goofy, adorable son, cuddling, looking for bugs, and discussing their favorite superpowers. She also loves being social and active in the community, and enjoys networking, collaborating, and connecting people with people. She thrives when generosity, empathy, humor, kindness, and connection are at the forefront of a place or an experience, and that’s also why she fell in love with Oregon in the first place.
Mike is a California native who made his way to Oregon two years ago. He has a background in retail management, sixteen years of retail experience, and education in engineering. He’s been with Blooms for over a year now and originally got into it because he’s a nerdy man-child who was thrilled for the opportunity to hang out with people for a living. He loves working with clients, particularly if they enjoy playing games and having fun.
In his off time, Mike enjoys raising his precocious 10-year-old son, checking out bugs and insects, fishing, video games, anime, Pokemon, music, gardening, doing outdoorsy things, Nerf guns, and guinea pigs. He can proudly make minute rice in 59 seconds.
Ray is a Portland native who has been with Blooms for a little over three years now. He has a Masters degree in education and a background in teaching. He was tired of the exhausting bureaucracy of working in schools, and eventually made the transition to working with Blooms, enjoying the move to more one on one and small group work. Though he was nervous to do something totally new, he’s realized now the impact he can make and the care and protectiveness he has for his clients and knows this is one of the best jobs he’s ever had. He sees his job now as a new version of teaching, but with a mentorship component added to the mix.
In his free time Ray is an avid reader, and loves playing guitar and listening to music. He has an adult daughter who is the love of his life. Though he was living in downtown Portland for the past few years, he recently moved back to Gresham to get a little distance from the noise and dirtiness, and he’s delighted about the decision.
Kyle graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2014 with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. He then worked as a substitute teacher for about five years. During this time, he focused on working in schools that specialized in supporting students with cognitive and emotional impairments. Kyle has a passion for teaching and helping people.
He is also a performing musician and guitar instructor, who traveled to Portland, OR from Grand Rapids, MI in 2017 to join the band Those Willows. Since then, he has toured the country and recorded on multiple albums. Kyle has been teaching guitar to individuals of all ages since 2010, and specializes in beginner to intermediate guitar, bass, and song writing.
Kyle is very physically active and cares deeply about living a healthy, well-rounded life. He enjoys nature, reading, cooking, exercise, music, and riding his bike. He also really enjoys going on tours around the city (his favorite place to take a free tour is the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland).
His natural calming manner and patience service him very well to draw people out of their shells and try new things.
Marcus is a life-long learner who has been working as a DSP for several years now, since Blooms began. He values a mindset of continuous self-improvement, recognizing failures when they happen, and dedicating to doing better in the future. His goals for himself and others are to achieve and maintain healthy mentalities for dealing with life, and he puts a lot of time, energy, and attention into anything he focuses on.
In his free time Marcus reads philosophy, writes and hosts D&D campaigns, plays video games, follows politics and economics, both historical and modern. He considers himself a modern Jack-of-all-trades, knowing enough about everything to get through anything.
"The universe will never throw more at you than you can handle."
- Marcus Aurelius: Roman Emperor, general and philosopher
Patrick Keck has worked with the DD community for over ten years. He has worked as a Special Education aide for elementary and middle school age students and as a Direct Support Professional and Program Coordinator for DD adults at a creative day program.
Patrick has a BFA in illustration and considers drawing comics, making fine art, and self-publishing books an essential part of his life and loves to impart that passion for art on clients that have similar interests. He's a movie buff, loves a nature hike, and will attend a live music show as long as there's the option of sitting down in a chair! Please check out the Blooms Cartoons developed by Patrick, entitled Blooms Adventures.
Olie moved to Portland from Boise, Idaho in 2008. While still in school for landscape technology, she began volunteering at Project Grow, a day program focused on urban farming, fine art and community building. With a personal interest in farming, she has spent most of her time in this field attempting to get folks excited about their food, where it comes from, and how to grow it. In addition to growing crops, Olie has dabbled in small-scale animal husbandry, as well as aquaponics. In 2019, Olie began managing a small farm in NE Portland called Fertility Garden. Her vision is to create an accessible space for folks of all abilities to enjoy gardening, being outside, and working together to build a community space where everyone shares ownership.
During her time with Project Grow, Olie started interacting with the IDD community and eventually, took another job as a personal support worker. She taught people how to plant and grow their own food, caring for farm animals and selling the produce to local shops in Portland.
When she's not elbows deep in soil, Olie can be found cooking, spending time with her cat, playing video games, cycling, and reading books about plants. Olie's values include silliness, adaptability (especially in relation to farming practices), approachability, finding ways to connect with people by meeting them in the middle with communication styles, and, most importantly, empathy.
Rose is proud to have over ten years of experience supporting people with disabilities. Her background also includes a BA in education. She is an awesome advocate and is passionate about helping people work to develop skills for self advocacy. Rose has case management experience and knowledge of services in Oregon. She is happy to assist in finding the right resource or service to meet a specific need and to help navigate the steps to accessing these resources. Rose loves to help people around the house and to get out into the community. She also considers herself a life-long learner and is excited about new experiences and learning from people she works alongside. Rose was recently told by a person she supported that they enjoyed working with her because she is kind, has a sense of humor, and is always smiling!
In her free time, Rose enjoys spending time with her family and friends, camping, getting out into nature, crafting, gardening, singing karaoke, going to comedy shows, attending local festivals, going to museums, sitting by a campfire, reading books, stargazing, geocaching, adventuring, and all things related to relaxing.
Zara is a life-long Oregonian - they grew up in the rural part of the state, but has now lived in the metro area for 8 years. They got their degree in fine art and is always trying to find new media to create with.
Zara began supporting adults with disabilities in 2017 at a day program centered around making art and accessing the community in meaningful ways. They love that the work is centered on forming genuine human connections with folks and building trust with each other. They like to introduce art practices to their clients when they can, encouraging their clients to try something new and practicing failure through art-making. Zara has worked in large facilities with over 140 clients, small group homes, and now one-on-one work.
Zara spends their free time dancing, playing video games, painting and crafting, traveling to extremely out-of-the-way places with no cell service, and taking leisurely bike rides.
Christian grew up in a small town in a rural area of Connecticut. After receiving his Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Connecticut, he worked as a server, as a cabinet sales representative, and finally managed a gym. He then decided to make a momentous change, and moved to Oregon.
Christian discovered his passion for support and being a provider during his time as a peer mentor at UConn. Being a provider gives him the opportunity to support others in achieving their goals, wants, and needs. Christian also fits the cliche of “I can help others better than I can help myself”, as well as the love of helping others. He gets high satisfaction and gratification when working with others. He is very outgoing, social, understanding, patient, and compassionate with those that he works with. Christian loves that this line of work is person centered, and focuses on interaction and building relationships and trust with others.
In his spare time, Christian enjoys playing video games, music, sports, television, hiking, swimming, dancing, spending time outdoors, spending time in the community with friends, art, museums, history, and all things fun and exciting. Christian considers himself to be at least somewhat knowledgeable in nearly any given topic, loving a wide variety of activities and studies.
Emily comes from a small rural community where neighborliness held great value, but social support and resources were difficult to access locally. Her values include human dignity, compassion, and thoughtfulness, concepts which interconnect with accessibility and meeting needs. In 2017 she arrived in Portland, where she discovered the unique connections and collaborative opportunities available within direct support work.
Emily is a full-time student, and graduates spring 2022 with her Bachelor’s of Social Work. Her goal is to work with communities developing and implementing local, accessible mental health services. In her free time, she likes to sit on the balcony with her cat, take really long naps, explore Oregon, and thrift for funky household items
Kevin is a Portland native and a new addition to the Blooms staff. He has a bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Portland. Kevin worked in Financial Services for 20 years in a variety of positions eventually managing an administrative and investment trading staff. Through his many years working in the industry he found the most enjoyable and satisfying aspect of work has always been developing new, emerging talent.
After 20 years of work in finance he decided that a new challenge was needed. An off-hand remark from his wife "you seem to work well and like working with people with disabilities..." led him to explore opportunities at organizations like Blooms. He is excited to begin working with adults to help them overcome obstacles to achieve goals and become impactful and positive members of their community.
When not working with clients you will find Kevin with his family (wife, Sarah children, Henry and Emily). He was a lifelong soccer player that transitioned to coaching and now is content watching and cheering on the Portland Timbers and Thorns.
Brandon is a Florida native who moved Portland, OR five years ago following his love for music and mountains. He studied Jazz Performance at Florida State University and has his Associate in Arts Degree from PCC. Brandon has been a private drum instructor for kids and adults for over 13 years. During this time he has organized dozens of student shows and performances, worked closely with local schools and the community in assisting with different band and percussion programs. He also worked at a local music store in Portland where he taught lessons and worked in music retail. Through teaching and social interaction he aims to help people find their own voice in their own creative practices , through their instruments and in life.
Brandon also is a performing drummer and electronic music artist here in Portland. When not working in the music community, he enjoys playing basketball, snowboarding, drawing, and listening to records. Another favorite activity is visiting the many beautiful parks that Portland has to offer.
“Your humanity is your instrument “ - Wayne Shorter