“I have always wanted to do something that can change someone’s life.” Olive shared in her scholarship application. “That’s why working in the medical field has always been my dream.”

Olive Omoro is the first ever recipient of the Gary Martin Memorial Scholarship. Thanks to a donation from Eugene & Mary Anne Dietz, the scholarship fund was created in memory of longtime resident of LBSA, Gary Martin. The $500 educational scholarship is awarded annually to one active LBSA staff member working on a degree or educational program relating to their work at LBSA. It will provide a small financial boost towards helping Olive’s dream become reality.
Olive’s desire to make a difference in people’s lives lead her to LBSA. Olive participated in the semester-long course developed by LBSA and Northfield High School to provide on-the-job-training for students to become a direct support professional. When Olive heard about the new class, she immediately signed up. After the class, Olive was hired by LBSA.

“Right away I could tell that Olive was unlike most 16-year olds,” says household director, Monica Maciel. “She jumped right into the culture in the house: offering ideas, being open to learning and was not scared to ask questions.”

Olive’s ease in transitioning to her new work environment may be a result of her experience transitioning to a new community. Olive moved to the United States from Kenya at age 12 and describes herself as “super shy” when she first arrived to this country and was the new kid in school. It wasn’t long before Olive got acclimated to her new surrounding and school. When you meet Olive today there is little semblance to the shy 12-year-old.

This fall, Olive is entering her sophomore year at Winona State studying nursing. Her goal is to eventually become a pediatric nurse or a nurse practitioner. Throughout college Olive continues to work shifts at LBSA whenever she can. Before the COVID-19 shut-down, Olive continued her connection to LBSA by picking up weekend and holiday shifts. Now she is working as her college has transitioned to online studies.

There is no doubt that Olive has made a positive impact on her colleagues and the clients she serves. “When Olive comes back to the house after being gone for a few months she’s greeted by cheers and applause from the girls of Aldrich,” Monica shares proudly. “No joke!!”

LBSA is fortunate to have Olive on our team of “difference-makers”!