Bob Kambe was a freshman in high school when his father died and his coach and his favorite teacher stepped up to help.
“They were tremendous mentors and role models,” says Kambe, now director of clinical services and development at Avid Physical Therapy in Indio. “They provided guidance and encouraged me to finish high school and attend college.”
The coach and teacher probably knew they were a positive influence, but what they didn’t know is that they were also paying it forward.
Today, Kambe offers guidance and mentorship to students who participate in internships and job shadowing programs offered through their high school’s health and medical career academy. “We encourage our interns to continue to use us as mentors as they move through their college career,” Kambe says.
With clinics in Indio and Cathedral City, Avid Physical Therapy has been hosting interns and job shadowing since 2012, when CVEP and its business and education partners rolled out the Coachella Valley Regional Plan for College and Career Readiness, a collaborative plan to expose students to viable careers and set them on a path to success in the workforce.
Kambe’s internship program began modestly with two interns from nearby high schools and grew to eight interns each semester and more in the summer. During an internship at Avid, students see what a physical therapy career looks like, from front office to examining room. “We encourage questions, and doctors ask the students what would they do for various clinical diagnoses and treatments,” Kambe says. “We want them to have a hands-on experience and not just observe.”
Kambe also volunteers on CVEP’s Business Engagement Committee as part of the Medical and Health Academy advisory team.
“Our mission statement includes giving back to the community and our students in the valley,” Kambe says. “There’s satisfaction in watching students grow and succeed in their academic and career goals and then return to the Coachella Valley for professional opportunities.”