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New FCSS co-ordinator excited by the challenge

Amanda Lawrence is excited for her new opportunity to help the residents of Fort Macleod.

Lawrence is the new co-ordinator of Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), taking over from Angie O’Connor who retired Dec. 17 after 14 years in the position.

“The position of program co-ordinator felt like the next natural step in my career,” Lawrence said in an interview. “I was wanting to spend more time in administrative work but not have to give up my face-to-face interactions with people.”

“Fort Macleod is an area I have not spent much time in, so I’ve been happy to immerse myself in the culture and the community. It has been an amazing opportunity and I am forever grateful to have had someone show me the job posting and that the timing was right.”

Lawrence comes to Fort Macleod after 13 years with Barons-Eureka-Warner FCSS, where she was involved primarily in hands-on programming as a youth services co-ordinator while also doing administrative and leadership work.

When she was a high school student, Lawrence realized she had a drive to help people help themselves, and started a mentorship program.

Following high school her career goals began to take shape.

“I felt a calling to work with youth and vulnerable populations,” Lawrence said. “I can say I feel like I have successfully followed this calling . . . and I hope to continue expanding my professional profile.”

Inspired by her businessman grandfather’s approach to work, Lawrence became the first in her family to pursue post-secondary studies and came to enjoy the challenge posed by academics.

“I had some of the best instructors in my life at the Lethbridge College who showed me that learning was never finished and if you wanted something bad enough, you went out and did it,” Lawrence added.

Lawrence earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Justice Studies, as well as a Masters in Counselling Psychology and has spent the last 21 years working in non-profit organizations.

Since joining Fort Macleod FCSS Lawrence has set as her goals getting to know residents to find out the types of events and community development they desire in town.

Residents can help Lawrence in her new position to fulfil the FCSS responsiblity of providing services and strategies that enhance the social well-being of individuals and families.

“I am looking for constructive communication from the residents to have a voice by brainstorming new creative ideas and activities that showcase our regulations,” Lawrence said. “I know in the past there have been some amazing events hosted by FCSS and I am also wanting to bring many of those back to the town. My phone is always on and the FCSS door is always open.”

Lawrence, housing support worker Stacey Marcom and administrative assistant Jamie Day are working to identify any gaps in services available to Fort Macleod residents and to find solutions.

From its office in the G.R. Davis Administration Building on 20th Street, FCSS is involved with numerous programs while serving as a community resource office.

The programs include Meals On Wheels, the volunteer income tax program, Interagency, the housing committee, summer youth program, and the disaster services reception centre.

FCSS has also been involved in the playground committee, the crime prevention advisory committee, and the diversity and inclusion committee.

FCSS had also provided funding to such groups as the adult walking program, Kids First Family Centre, the parent preschool program, Boys and Girls Club and Blue Rein Ranch.

Fort Macleod businesses, agencies and residents have already provided Lawrence with a warm welcome that she appreciates.

She plans to continue to develop those personal relationships in order to serve Fort Macleod to the best of her ability.

“My rewards come from the residents that we help, whether it be from sending a fax or email, offering support, advocacy or having fun alongside them,” Lawrence said. “When they are satisfied, then so am I; that is one of my core values.”

“In addition, I am looking forward to learning from the residents who are the experts in their needs.”

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