Local owners Kit Baloun and Amanda Pottorff have teamed up to accomplish Vibrant Homecare’s mission of helping Iowan’s “be home, be well and be happy.” The agency provides unskilled Private Pay and Medicaid in-home care services such as cooking and meal preparation, cleaning, bathing, dressing, grooming, transportation for errands and appointments, medication reminders, respite care, companionship, skill development and personal emergency response units to elderly individuals and people with disabilities.
Kit, originally from Lansing, IA is a mother of four (Lilian, 17; Sam 16; Thomas, 13 and Juni, 12) and lives in the Easter Lake Des Moines area with her husband, Gene. Kit has a degree in Business Administration, as well as Accounting and Marketing.
Amanda is originally from Corning, IA, lives in West Des Moines and will marry her fiancé, Kelly in June of 2018. She completed her undergrad at Iowa State University and has a Master’s in Health Care Administration and a Master’s in Public Health.
Between the two of them, they have almost 16 years of experience in the home care industry including management, operations leadership, marketing & business development, home care, hospice, long term care, assisted living placement and Medicaid.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff…
What do you like to do for fun?
A: Biking to Brunch. I’m pretty much a professional bruncher.
K: During the warm weather, my favorite fun thing is getting on the boat with my family and friends. During the winters, I think it’s fun to eat a lot of good food, have dinner parties and snuggle.
What’s your favorite food and drink?
A: Margherita Pizza & Coors Light
K: This is a tough one. It all depends on the weather, mood, and time of day. You can generally always find some form of pizza in my fridge or freezer…left over delivery, homemade (not very often – let’s be real), frozen pizza, pizza rolls, pizza pockets, pizza bagels. You name it!! My favorite drink is orange pop. I’m no longer drinking pop though, so I guess flavored water…boring!!!
Why did you choose home care as a profession?
A: I really didn’t choose it, I sort of fell into it and then realized I loved it! My mom had always told me I’d do well working with the elderly, but like most teens I didn’t listen to her until I went looking for a post-graduate internship and ended up at Scottish Rite Park and senior living, assisted living and nursing home facility. I then moved into hospice and home health and enjoy helping people stay at home where they want to be.
K: Considering my educational background is in accounting and marketing, it was a very long, curvy road to home health. I wouldn’t change anything about it though. The people I have met throughout the journey are some of the best!
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
A: My ironman. Although it won’t be the biggest accomplishment I ever achieve, it was a turning point for me mentally in learning discipline and perseverance in any challenge.
K: Honestly, I am proud of where I’m at today in general. I have four awesome kids, a loving husband, a fulfilling career, and a funny dog.
What was your dream job growing up?
A: I wanted to be the yellow Power Ranger. Seriously….
K: When I was pretty young I thought it would be cool to be able to write on a chalkboard everyday like my mom…so I wanted to be a teacher. Then as I grew, I found out I was talented with a paint brush, so I wanted to be an artist. As time went on I found out that I was even more talented at bossing my siblings, so then I wanted to be “a boss.”
If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be?
A: Public speaking. I really admire people who can speak in front of a large audience and really own the room.
K: Running. My husband is a runner, and a lot of my friends are into it. I’m not. I don’t like it. I’m not good at it. I wish I was.
What’s your favorite smell in the whole world?
A: Mom’s Prime Rib at Christmas!
K: Fresh asphalt in the spring.
What’s your favorite family tradition?
A: Making homemade pizza on Christmas Eve night with my family and eating it after the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service.
K: My favorite is our birthday tradition. Whoever’s birthday it is gets to choose where we go out to dinner. We all go, no matter where it’s at.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
A: To be successful and accomplish anything you have to put in the hard work. It was probably said in many different ways by my parents, but that was the general message.
K: If you don’t love it on the rack, you won’t like it when you get it home. Kidding. That’s good advice, but not the best. The best advice probably came from my mom. It wasn’t even in words; it was in her actions. Be strong, be confident, be smart, be you. I also remember her telling me that the only thing that we can’t make more of is land, so buy it if it’s for sale.
Name one thing on your bucket list you haven’t done yet.
A: Spend time touring Europe by bike.
K: Gone on an Alaskan cruise. I hope my husband reads this!!
What are you most grateful for?
A: Faith, family, friends, and opportunity.
K: Pretty cliché, but I would have to say my family and close friends. When you hear a mom say that they have the best kid(s) in the world, I’m sure they mean it. When you hear me say it, you can take it to the bank.
What words of wisdom would you pass onto your childhood self?
A: Make a conscious effort to look at the glass half full and to always be look at challenges as opportunities. Your energy is contagious so make sure it’s positive energy that you are giving off.
K: You are responsible and in charge of your own feelings and your own actions…yours alone, and no one else’s.
At which store would you like to max out your credit card?
A: REI…oh yeah!!!
K: Scheels – they literally have everything. It has to be a stand alone Scheels though…it cannot be attached to the mall, because then I would want to shop more. If it’s not a stand alone, then I would choose Bass Pro. Again, they literally have everything.
What’s your favorite book?
A: Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I think it should be a part of school curriculum for high school students. I didn’t read it until this year and it’s a game changer.
K: Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy. I think it is important to understand and embrace the fact that it’s okay to go through tough times, and not be “happy” all of the time. Unless you know hurt, struggle and even pain, it is difficult to appreciate and know what happiness truly is.
Which way does your toilet paper hang on the wall – over or under?
A: Neither, the plastic roll went missing a year ago and is still MIA
K: Whichever way my husband loads it.
What’s your nickname?
A: AP…ALL DAY!
K: I don’t really have a nickname. With a name like mine, I get called a lot of different names on accident…Kid, Kat, Katie, Kim. You can call me just about anything…just not late to dinner!
Sweet or salty snacks?
A: Salty – I’m a chips n dipaholic.
K: Both…together. Why else would they make chocolate covered pretzels?
Do you like to dance?
A: Yes, but I’m not good at it! I especially enjoy dancing with my twin. There’s nothing better than having someone else to dance “bad” with…especially when we look the same. We’ve got the shoulder shrug down.
K: I picture what I look like dancing in my head, so I’ll try it in real life once in a while. I usually end up looking like a fish out of water, but it’s fun!!!
What do you prefer for vacation? Mountains, Beach or Big City?
A: Beach, although there are still a lot of non-beach destinations on my travel list.
K: Big city. I love the energy and noise.
What’s your favorite thing about your job or industry?
A: That our work matters. People want to age at home and remain as independent as possible. Home care truly helps people do that and gives people individualized care. Staffing and scheduling can sometimes be really tough, but when you find those key caregivers and you start hearing how much they help our clients it’s really rewarding.
K: Two common phrases you’ll hear in my house are, “What did you learn today?” and “Make it a point to learn at least one new thing every day.” In the health care industry, there are innovations, changes (some good/some not so good) every day; so much to take in and digest. I also love learning about the people we are helping. Their stories are amazing, and inspiring!