Get to know staff - Chanda Olson

Mon, 04/26/2021 - 20:12 -- Anna
Get to know staff - Chanda OI have been the Children’s Advocate at LCRC for five years this September. This position brought me to LCRC, allowing me to help families who have been through domestic violence and trauma. It gives me room to be creative and think out of the box. I assist mothers with anything child related. I teach and model different parenting skills to mothers, along with providing access to resources for their children such as WIC, Health Resources, Mahube-Otwa, DLCCC, local childcare providers, Kinship, mental health services, and other activities in the community. I also help children enroll in Head Start or school; getting their medical, dental, and vision needs/records updated. I assist mothers in setting up routines/schedules for their children now that they’re in a safe place. Through LCRC, I provide any necessary hygiene items, clothing, school supplies, and/or equipment needed for the children--making sure they have age-appropriate toys and books.
The most rewarding part of my job is working with the children. It’s great to see them grow and progress while here. In some cases, getting to see the light come back in their eyes when they start to feel safe and secure, and have consistent routines and schedules. The most challenging part of my job is getting the mothers to a place where they can trust me and are willing to accept my help with their children.
I joined the ND Army National Guard after graduating from high school, serving six years as a Chaplain Assistant with the 1/112th Aviation unit based out of Bismarck, ND. I graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education, focusing on emotional behavior disorders and learning disabilities. Preferring not to work in a school setting, I worked at Solutions Behavior as a Mental Health Practitioner for over three years, helping children with behavioral issues and children with autism. I have known since I was little that I wanted a job helping people.
My mom and dad are the most influential people in my life. They modeled how to be independent and work hard, teaching me strong morals and values. They encouraged me to get an education so I could get a good job. They continue to give me support and listening ears when I need it. A favorite childhood memory was Halloween. We did not have a lot of money, but my mom made up for it with creative pumpkins and outfitting my three siblings and I with the most imaginative handmade costumes. One such costume was when I was a robot, made from a cardboard box, painted silver, accessorized with a light switch and dryer tubes.
Things I love are chicken alfredo, DQ cherry floats, the movie, Mama Mia, because of all the ABBA songs; and I enjoy dancing. A vacation spot on my bucket list would be the ocean; walking on the smooth sand of the beach, collecting seashells, and wading in the water. But also, to be able to swim with the dolphins, scuba dive, and parasail.