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Meet #DifferenceMaker Kylie Lee, Eventide Fargo cook

Eventide Difference Maker Kylie Lee loves a lot of things, but at the top of her list is family and food.

“I like to cook. I love food,” Kylie said. “And my family. I enjoy everyone around me.”

And if Chris Gilson, executive director of Eventide Fargo, could add a word to describe Kylie, it would be “fun.”

“Kylie is a bright spot on our team and brings a ton of life and energy every day she is here. We are so fortunate to have team members like her,” Chris said.

Chris and the rest of the team at Eventide Fargo nominated Kylie as a #DifferenceMaker for her energy, enthusiasm, and a gift for helping residents connect through food.

For the love of food and fun

Ever since she moved back from Florida to the Fargo-Moorhead-West region two years ago, Kylie has been stirring up lots of energy and enthusiasm in the kitchen where she prepares meals for staff and residents at Eventide Fargo.

What makes her culinary chops so special is that she goes out of her way to learn residents’ food preferences. A quick tour of her kitchen and you’ll also understand her penchant for meticulous record-keeping — both for safety reasons and for providing that special touch.

“We keep a list of different food items people can have, but if someone wants a cheeseburger and it’s not cheeseburger day, I make sure they get a cheeseburger if they can have one,” Kylie said.

She’s proud of her workspace and makes sure dry foods are stocked, organized, and the kitchen is sparkling clean for the evening staff. Starting her day around 5:30 a.m., Kylie said a typical shift goes very fast and keeps her on her toes.

“It’s a very fast paced job, which I enjoy when you’re always busy. You’re always doing something,” she said. “You have your bumps in the road where things aren’t necessarily the way you want them to go. But we all work as a team to keep going forward.”

Most of the morning work is focused on breakfast, then Kylie and her team prepare the next day’s lunch meal.

“Giving food out to people to their preferences is the best feeling every single time I do it,” Kylie said. “Whether they want something special whether they don’t because that’s the one thing they can choose and you know. Food has a story. It can always trigger something for someone, simple little things, and that’s what I enjoy about making food all the time.”

For the love of family

Born in Minnesota, Kylie’s family moved south when she was a kid, but something about the north country called her back.

“I enjoy the weather,” she said. “It’s nice to have a real Christmas with snow and everything.”

It didn’t take long for the rest of her family to start flying north to join Kylie in Fargo.

“It’s a very family-oriented facility and I’m very much so with my family,” Kylie said.

Kylie’s mother Tara also works at Eventide Fargo as a CNA. They don’t interact with each other much at work, but a lot of their free time is spent together, along with Kylie’s five siblings and her grandmother.

That doesn’t mean Kylie misses an opportunity to run into her mom from time to time.

“I always make fun of her when I see her,” she said. “It’s a very family-oriented facility and I’m very much happiest when I’m with my family.”

For the love of friends

Kylie’s best friend and roommate also works at Eventide Fargo, though she considers everyone she works with her friends.

For the love of hard work

Kylie has high expectations of herself and works very hard, two attributes she believes she inherited from her mother Tara. As the oldest sibling, she is always looking out for others.

“It’s always good to build yourself up on something,” Kylie said. “I like to see how much I can grow and where I can go with work. I enjoy the Eventide environment and having a good leader behind you is always really important, which I also have here.”

For the love of residents

Kylie said she loves making cakes and treats from scratch for residents on special occasions. It’s her way of making activities and events a little more special for residents.

“I put more of an effort, I guess, you know, I want everything perfect all the time. And I think that’s one of my biggest flaws is I hate being imperfect. I hate imperfections. And food is a big thing where I want it right you know, because it’s one thing they have that’s the real big choice. So I want it exactly the way they wanted their favorite meals that people typically like over other ones,” Kylie said.

As for her future career at Eventide, Kylie hopes to be back in the kitchen for a long time. It’s where she feels comfortable and where she feels like she’s truly making a difference.

“Eventide is definitely a place you grow with. It grows with you. I have developed so much working here and I plan on continuing that journey,” Kylie said.

Keeping Kylie and other Eventide Difference Makers around for a long time is tantamount to the care and mission, and for Chris at Eventide Fargo, a testament to the high-level of care employees provide.

“Although her cooking may not be recognized by all, it is surely appreciated by those we serve, our residents, and her work makes all the difference to them,” Chris said.

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