Friday, April 3, 2015

Meet the April 2015 Team {Keith}

Keith is Dr. Darla Wrage's husband. Darla has been part of the Superkids team since 2013. This time we are happy to have Keith is joining us as well.

I'll start by simply stating that I am most likely a rickshaw driver's worst nightmare...6' 8" and 260 lbs.  As I approach...they all seem to suddenly have problems with their chains!  :o)  Actually, watching the ingenuity of the bike/trike transport in China...they don't even see me as a challenge!  I enjoy biking and grew up in South Dakota using a bike for fishing trips and mowing jobs...and I'm fascinated by the use of the bicycle in China.



I end up on the camera roll of many Chinese cell phones.  In China the norm is for random groups of teens to walk up to me...the girls giggling, the boys making dunking motions (FYI: I never played basketball)...form a group around me...and have someone take the picture.  I love to play along with these.  My favorite part is to watch the photographer start out with their phone sideways...look...and then quickly flip it vertical and start backing up!  Of course, being a walking freak show...kids will either love me or be terrified.  I love to laugh and be silly - so hopefully that comes through too!

These cars are awesome... wanted to bring it home as a carry-on

My career has included inventory and receiving management, graduate school in biology/natural resources, university teaching, stay-at-home dad (my toughest job!), residential construction & remodeling, real estate, and now working as a recruiter and trainer for a local hospital.  I recruit physicians, NPs, PA, therapists, pharmacists and leadership positions.  In addition, I provide staff training around topics of leadership, communication and patient experience - I love to teach!  I have always said that on paper I am qualified to do absolutely nothing...but for some reason people keep hiring me!

Goals on trip
On the upcoming SuperKids trip, I see my role as an enabler...in a positive way!  The team has incredibly gifted professionals who need to invest their time in the children - getting to know them, assessing them in terms of development and packing as much value into the short time they have.  I see my role as enabling them to do so - without ever worrying about the stuff of getting things done;  keeping batteries charged, cords found, cameras working, printers printing, memory cards organized, digital information backed-up and safe in multiple forms, paper forms ready, audio recordings archived, creating growth charts, connecting in-country information and data to the correct child, playing MacGyver to figure out how to make something work and yes, being on the look-out for Diet Coke or Coke Zero!  I really want the team to be able to work without ever thinking about any of these things.

On previous trips, the team would return from an exhausting itinerary faced with piles of information and many gigabytes of digital media.  I helped post-process/edit all of the video files from one of these previous trips that Darla was on.  My goal is to process and organize all of the information and media for every child in almost real time.  By noon of day two, I hope to have all of the information from day 1 processed and complete.  I hope this enables the work AFTER the trip to proceed more smoothly too.  I've worked with the staff to determine what pieces they need most and in what formats it has the most value.  On our second adoption trip, I was able to assist Darla for a day in one orphanage.

My primary hobby is photography - I have a home studio and shoot a few events but much of my focus is on sports photography.  You'll usually find me on the sidelines at football games, on the baseline in the gym, or at concerts or theater events.  On the trip, I hope to be able to use those skills as well.  One of my goals is to shoot short "video portrait" clips of as many children as possible and document the team doing their work.  My other hobby is construction - and hopefully that will enable me to help them team as needs arise.

One of my kids finally caught me on camera- in Guangzhou

I love being Dad to my five children - spread out from college to 3rd grade.  I am truly blessed.  Our two youngest were adopted from China about 2 years apart so I've traveled in China twice.  I look forward to returning to do the hard work required to change the future of a child.