February 10, 2023
Honoring Valentine’s Day with a YESS love story
Matt and Nikki Baird began dating 10-years ago after meeting at YESS
Thanks to AbilityPoint programs (sortof), next month longtime partners Nikki and Matt Baird will celebrate their sons’ first birthday. It was 10-years ago they began dating after meeting at Youth Education Summer Socialization (YESS).
Both were introduced to serving individuals with an intellectual and developmental disability during their formative high school years. As a teenager, Nikki began working YESS Summers in 2011 and continues working the education portion to this date. Matt spent his summer months there, too, from 2012-2014.
“That is where we met,” Nikki said. “One of the first things I noticed about Matt was his ability to be comfortable and enjoy time with the students, which was a big deal for me having a sister with an intellectual disability. I enjoy seeing Matt’s smile when he talks with various individuals involved in AbilityPoint.”
The couple began dating in 2013 and married in 2018. Last March, their first child was born.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University, Matt is now a RES Project Manager at Evergy and joined the AbilityPoint board of directors in 2016. Nikki graduated from Fort Hays State with bachelor’s degrees, in Fine Arts and in Education. In 2021, she earned a Masters in Special Education and continues to teach Art at Wichita North High School.
“We still enjoy volunteering at AbilityPoint because we feel it provides a great service to the community and we enjoy working with the individuals the organization serves,” Matt said.
YESS was the start of Matt and Nikki’s foundation for volunteering to support individuals with intellectual disabilities. This led them to volunteer for Mini Tours, setting up Christmas Lights, and attending various fundraisers to support their friends. They plan to keep volunteering when they can and hope to have Hudson, their son, grow up volunteering for Ability Point too. Nikki said, “I especially hope he can volunteer for YESS when he is old enough!”
YESS helps students retain what they learned during the school year while developing improved communication and socialization skills. Over an 8-week period in the summer, students ages 5-21 enjoy a ½ day of classroom setting education and a ½ day in the community helping them to develop and improve communication and socialization skills.
If you or someone you know is interested in working YESS this summer, registration is now open at www.abilitypoint.org