Hazard Spotlight: Sandra Olinger

Who are you, and what roles to you fill in your community?

My name is Sandra Olinger, I’m the Family resource and Youth Services Director for Hazard Independent Schools. The goal of the Family Resource and Youth Services Centers is to meet the needs of all children and their families who reside in the community or neighborhood served by the school in which the center is located. To achieve this goal, local flexibility and community ownership are crucial. While every center is unique, they may have commonalties. The manner in which these issues are addressed may vary greatly depending on the resources available in your community and the education needs of the population you serve. The primary goal of FRYSC is to remove non-cognitive barriers to children’s learning.

What do you most appreciate about your community?

I appreciate the hometown closeness, the family atmosphere and the rallying and team approach. When a family, or families, are having a difficult time, we come together as a community and make sure that family is taken care of. I love my community. Life is comfortable. We don’t deal with much traffic. It’s easy to get from the store, work, school and back home without staying in traffic all day. I know my neighbors, and have a friendly conversation daily. Our school system is the best! We come together to support all our students no matter what they are going through. We are here to help! Our community sponsors students during Christmas, Thanksgiving, and throughout the year to make sure that student have what they need to succeed in school. Hazard has a down to earth vibe and I appreciate the simple things it provides.

What is your vision for Hazard, and what’s a community project you’ve been a part of that makes strides toward that vision?

My vision for Hazard would be: A community that can grow for our youngest to our oldest. Without growth there is no future for our children. We need to continue to grow and bring back industry to our community. We need have better higher education programs and Universities, and better paying jobs so those who are growing up here do not feel as if they have to leave in order to live and have a good life for them and their family.

Who is a member of your community that you admire, and why?

Member of my community I admire is my mother. She had a very hard life trying to raise 10 children and working every day cleaning someone else’s home for a few dollars to make sure we had something to eat and clothes on our back. My mother had to drop out of school at a early age because her mother passed away. She had to stay home and help with her younger brothers and sisters. I remember her saying that was the way things where back then.  She’s definitely an inspiration. Just seeing how much she’s been through over the years and she still keeps her faith. She make me think, helps me learn and pushes me to be a better person. She’s also taught me to be nice to people and give back to my community. She encourages all of her children to complete high school and to attend college. Her dream was for one of her children to graduate from college. Well, two of us did.