From an early age, Lexi Olson, an alcohol and drug counselor and case manager at Central City Concern’s Community Engagement Program, recognized that this world was filled with countless journeys and stories. Growing up in a “crash house” helped her foster a love for people, but not the systemic conditions that brought friends to seek shelter with her family.
“Ever since then, I’ve had the belief that everyone should have their basic needs met and be treated with compassion.”
Following her convictions led Lexi to a number of street outreach positions, which eventually brought her to her current position working closely with individuals – oftentimes youth-identified – who are living outside, struggling with addiction, in need of some medical care, and/or in need of basic necessities. Lexi knows that to build relationships, she needs to meet her clients where they are, both literally and figuratively.
“I go to people’s homes if they have one, or I meet folks outside. I go to appointments with them. I learn what they need, whether that’s treatment or a food box or just a walk outside, and I try my best to connect them to it.”
Working with a population with such varying and complex needs, Lexi understands that attempts at providing case management and counseling won’t always result in immediate strides. But her clients find strength and empowerment in Lexi’s compassion, even coming back years later and asking to try counseling again.
“For me, this work is about trying to help people slowly grow and become someone who they are happy being.”
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Lexi's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.
Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.