Alumni In Service | Alex Wyatt (Kaul)

Posted by Andrew Braun on Oct 13, 2021 3:02:18 PM


Alex Kaul (now Wyatt) never thought he would have a career in service. He attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and went into the recreation management program because it suited his idea of working in parks and recreation. He graduated in 2009, just when budgets were getting cut in every recreation program. So he took a job at a design company with his dad for a year after college while planning his next step 

While looking for jobs, he focused on youth and community programs in southeast Wisconsin, but the radius proved to be too limiting for options. A youth programs coordinator posting came up in Delaware where he was interested in moving. It was for a full year of service in AmeriCorps through Habitat for Humanity, with a stipend for living expenses and a grant to pay for education after the year was over. The company’s mission and the idea of having a set timeline appealed to Alex, so he took the job. 

That year turned out to be a much needed step out of his comfort zone. He was meeting new people and enjoyed being in a new city, so he signed up for a second year. His goal was to get to Portland, so he took the closest position in Tacoma, Washington as a volunteer coordinator. In that second year, he knew the realm of non-profit was where he wanted to make his career. After bouncing around working with foster care and homeless youth agencies, he landed in a volunteer coordinator position in the Seattle Habitat for Humanity in 2014 and hasn’t left the city. He advanced into the corporate fundraising side of the role a few years later as a Corporate Relations Manager and AmeriCorps Host Site Manager. 

Working with the AmeriCorps in a managerial role, Alex directs the small teams of volunteers who go to sites and do the hands-on work. He finds reward in doing his best to offer that life-changing experience to others. He appreciates being involved with how Habitat for Humanity provides affordable housing, and the equity and reconciliation that is a result of the work they do. Housing’s history of racism and exclusionary policies, especially in urban areas, is a visible mark in neighborhoods. Righting the wrongs that have happened in the past for people in those neighborhoods is an unintentional but incredibly needed outcome of the work he does with Habitat for Humanity. 

Alex is grateful to his small school experience at Lake Country Lutheran for having more direct connections with teachers, coaches, and friends. He was shy at the time, but being on the football, basketball, and baseball teams helped him grow into himself and feel like he belonged. The chaos of the early years of LCL with trailers and bad fields to play on made for good memories too. The teachers were great mentors to him and his classmates, being young themselves, they showed him how to dive in and make things work with little resources. Banding together to get through such unique situations, it all drove home how much people matter, and how much relationships move and drive him. 

So many people in high school knew exactly what they wanted to do, and did it. I wasn’t like that though. I just knew I liked people and any service opportunity in high school, but I wasn’t piecing that together right away. It’s ok to go with the flow, because there’s a reason you’re making these decisions as you go. I now have a career that I absolutely love, but it wasn’t where I should have ended up based on my experience.” 

Alex married his wife, Emily, in October 2020 with a small wedding party in the mountains near Mt. Rainier. They will celebrate their one year anniversary this fall with their extended family and friends in Yellowstone. Emily also works for a non-profit in sustainable seafood. They both changed their last name to Wyatt so they could share a name but not follow a traditional route. They enjoyed the process of coming up with a new name together. 

Now that Alex has the inside knowledge of working with non-profit and volunteer programs, he offers a few suggestions to those looking to become more involved in service. “Weekly and monthly volunteers hold so much more impact than the once-a-year groups. If you find something you believe in and is valuable to you, just put a little more of yourself into it.” He also suggests to reach out to organizations and simply ask what would be most beneficial to them. They will direct you to where the need is greatest, and you will make an immediate difference. 

For those thinking about making non-profit or service their career, he says he is proof that it is actually fiscally possible. “If this is something that speaks to you, it might be challenging at times, but the payoff is worth it. We are both in non-profits, and we just became first-time homeowners, even in a very expensive housing market, so it can be done! I wouldn’t change the experience for anything.” 

LCL alumni


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