Community Services Consortium

Serving Linn, Benton, and Lincoln counties in Oregon. Helping people. Changing lives.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Above and Beyond – When a Job Isn’t Just a Job

by Suzanne Miller, Director of CSC Lincoln County Head Start

It is my pleasure to be the Director of CSC Head Start and work with our wonderful staff in Lincoln County. All staff members are excellent, hard-working people who truly serve our community. There is one person on our staff who has given me a new perspective on the definition of “work ethic.” That person is Angela Oleman. Angela was born and raised in Toledo in a family that did everything together - work, play, team sports, vacations, house projects; you name it. Angela grew up in a natural “team;” her family was that team.

I sat down with Angela one afternoon to ask her why she is such a hard worker - always finding solutions, always going the extra mile. “I don’t know any other way to be” was her answer. “We were raised to participate, to work together—if it needs doing, then let’s do it.” Angela is a powerful force on our team, always a smile on her face, a great attitude of positivity and patience and understanding for others. She is always looking for ways to make the Head Start program better.

Angela also recruits her “home team” for projects at Head Start sites. Her husband Mike and her sons, Tyson and Kyle - when not working, helping at home, going to school and doing their own sports - are often seen at the sites helping with projects. Angela was able with the help of another staff member to find a volunteer to paint the Toledo classroom over the summer. The only caveat was that all the prep work be done by someone else. So, Angela had her family come down to help accomplish that, saving the program quite a bit of money too!

This is just one of many examples. Angela has the same sense of economy for Head Start as she does for her own family finances. She is an employee who “owns” her work, her sites and the many areas she manages. I asked her how she does it all so well, and why. “Head Start is a great place to work and our staff are all very caring people.” Angela further said that she cares for everyone around her.

Angela feels that it is important for her sons to develop a social conscience and to be part of the community. This is generational social activism and citizenship of the highest order. Her mom Bonnie crochets scarves for the Toledo Head Start children, and is making some treats for the returning staff first day training as well.

When I am stressed and not my best self, Angela will ask “Are you grumpy today?” I can tell you I quickly straighten up! I never want to disappoint her. I may be her “boss” as she says, but I think she may be my teacher.

It is important that we celebrate those who give so much, people like Angela, Mike, Tyson, Kyle and Bonnie. I know I’m grateful.

Suzanne Miller, PhD, is a writer and the Director of CSC Head Start in Lincoln County.

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