So many of us here in Lake Nona come from different places and have different stories of how we wound up in the Nonahood. No two stories are the same, with each comprised of individuals making the choice to pick up and move from another part of Florida, another state, or even another country. This is How We Got Here, telling stories one at a time of how different families from all different walks of life ended up in Lake Nona.
This month’s family, The Kendricks, includes Kevin Kendrick and his wife, Yvette, both realtors for Keller Williams Lake Nona, Carson Kendrick who is 15 and in 10th grade at Lake Nona High School, and Brandon Sandoval, who is 13 and in 8th grade at Lake Nona Middle School.
Check out our conversation with the family below!
NHN: When did you come to Lake Nona and what brought you here?
Kevin Kendrick: We are a blended family. Carson is my son. We moved to Lake Nona in 2008 when I decided to build a home in Water’s Edge at NorthLake Park. I wish there was a great reason for us to move to Lake Nona, but it just seemed like the right place to be after seeing all of the “Lake Nona” signs on the 528 for many years. I married Yvette in August 2012, and she and Brandon joined us.
NHN: What’s unique about having a “blended” family?
KK: We do think that every “blended” family is different. Our family is unique because Carson’s mom lives and works in the Lake Nona area and is in-and-out of our home quite regularly, while Brandon’s dad lives in Chicago, and he gets to visit a few times each year. Yvette gets to serve as the “bonus mom” to Carson. I’ve helped fill the “gap” with Brandon and have helped raised him since he was in 2nd grade. As parents, we try to give each boy experiences that they may not have at their biological parents’ homes.
NHN: What does your daily life look like?
KK: Yvette and I generally start our mornings at Orange Theory Fitness Lake Nona. We are usually there 4-5 days a week. Once the boys are up and off to school, there is no normal. One day, we could have multiple appointments with potential buyers and sellers, and another day may be calling and networking with members of the Nonahood. While we try to do many appointments together, we are able to network within difference circles throughout the community. We love building relationships with those living in the Nonahood.
NHN: Where are you from originally?
KK: I’m a seventh-generation Floridian and was born and raised in Orlando. I graduated from Dr. Phillips High School in 1991 (the first four-year class). Carson is an eighth-generation Floridian and born in Orlando as well. Yvette and Brandon are both from Chicago and moved to Orlando in 2007.
NHN: What is your favorite part about Lake Nona?
KK: We love how everyone is interconnected in some capacity. When we are out and about, we love talking to complete strangers, and we always find out we have friends in common or maybe even places that we frequent in common. We also love how everyone comes together to support each other during tumultuous times, like hurricanes or the loss of a family member, as well as rallying around amazing events like the Lake Nona Pig Run or the Lake Nona High School theater performances.
NHN: What has it been like as a native Floridian to see Lake Nona grow in the way that it has?
KK: When I was a kid, we used to come to Moss Park all the time, as it was one of the few state parks that we could visit that was nearby. I remember Narcoossee being desolate, and there was very little traffic in the area, filled with trees and wildlife. As a high school student, we would come to the area that is now NorthLake Park and the Lake Nona Country Club to fish and hunt with friends. When Lake Nona first started to develop, I would always question why people would live out there, as it was the farthest place away from anything within the city. I was extremely hesitant to make the move here because I felt like it was so far away from everything. Now, I wouldn’t leave Lake Nona if you paid me. This is our home, and we have embraced the changes, good and bad. We look forward to continuing to live and serve the Lake Nona community for many years to come.
NHN: What are your hobbies?
KK: As a family, we love to travel. We try to take a few trips each year. We love spending time with our family and friends. We are very blessed that our parents live 15-20 minutes away.
NHN: What is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
KK: Chicago would have to be our favorite within the United States, as we go there 1-3 times each year. Each time we go, we seem to experience a new part of the city. Internationally, we went to London, Paris and Barcelona last year for spring break, and we all loved Paris. It was truly a beautiful city and exceeded our expectations.
NHN: What is your dream travel goal?
KK: Yvette would love to travel to Italy. Our goal is to visit in the next 2-3 years.
NHN: What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you? The most interesting?
KK: I love to wear my Lake Nona t-shirts when we travel. I’ve run into people who live in the Nonahood and knew [of our] advertising on Facebook and from the community in Chicago and Key West. As realtors, we get to work with people from all walks of life. We have had several opportunities to see families that came to the United States for a better life and ultimately purchase their first home but also their first home in their entire family. To see them weep with pride and joy is always an amazing experience and reminds us that anyone can achieve the American Dream.
NHN: If you could tell one thing to a person or family considering moving to Lake Nona, what would that be?
KK: Lake Nona is more than a place to live – it is a community that allows you to integrate work, social, spiritual, athletics, etc., into your daily life. It is a place that you can meet lifelong friends through attending community events or partaking in a local road race. Lake Nona is more than a part of Orlando. Lake Nona is a place to Be, Belong and Become.
Would you like to share your story of how you got here? Please fill out this online form: forms.nona.media/how-we-got-here or send an email to Vanessa@nonahoodnews.com with a brief summary of why your family moved to Lake Nona. We’ll be in touch.