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You Are Here: Lavar's Story

A Place Where Dreams Come True

When Lavar Higgins first started with MRC Industries in 2004, his goals were to learn to get along with others, help other people, be a mentor, and obtain a job in the community. 

He initially started building his skills through the MRC McKercher skill-building program, performing assembly work, taking skill-building classes and volunteering at local non-profit organizations such as The Salvation Army and Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.   

As he continued to learn and grow, Lavar began working on a work crew performing various custodial jobs.   Lavar learned his job very well, became a team leader, and helped train other crew members and job coaches.   

Lavar’s long-term goal was to secure employment in the community, with his ultimate dream to become a professional cook.   He worked with his Employment Training Specialist, Nichole Schipper, to find a job in the community matching his aspirations.

“She knew what I liked and didn’t like, and she paid attention to what I wanted for my life and my future.  She helped me look for jobs in restaurants,” shares Lavar.

In 2016, Lavar was able to secure employment at Centre Street Tap House in Portage, an important step in achieving his goals and dreams.

“At my job, I get to observe in the kitchen and see what they do.  I’m learning more about cooking so that someday I can achieve my dream to open my own restaurant serving my family recipes and soul food,” says Lavar. 

Patti Scarff, General Manager at Centre Street Tap House, has enjoyed having Lavar as part of the team.

“It’s been a delight working with Lavar and watching him learn and grow.  His energy and enthusiasm are contagious and keeps the rest of the staff smiling every time he comes to work,” says Patti.

“At MRC, my favorite parts are the people and helping others.  At Centre Street, they are getting along with everybody, making new friends, and being a part of the team there.  Now I get to inspire my friends at MRC to go out and get jobs too,” says Lavar.


MRC Main Administrative Office and McKercher
2538 S. 26th St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49048 

MRC BridgeWays Case Management
1606 S. Burdick Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49001 

MRC Pathways Clubhouse
119 W. Vine
Kalamazoo, MI 49001 

330 South Burdick
South Kalamazoo Mall
Kalamazoo, MI 49007