By Alan Rollins, Story Curator
In the windy city of Chicago, Illinois is where Leslie Olds serves her community and calls home. Olds works enthusiastically with the Family Focus Grant Organization where she serves as a Doula. Olds, the proud single parent of twin girls, understands the unique challenges faced by young pregnant women along with the barriers that come with it as she once had. Now she provides services to the underserved communities facing those same challenges and barriers by providing support and resources to help young mothers who have low income to get through their pregnancies. As a Doula, Olds provides emotional and physical support to women during their pregnancy and childbirth. Olds credits FII for becoming a Doula as it was one of her first goals she made when she started with FII. She also finds her service to the community as being quite rewarding.
Olds joined the FII Family August of 2019 and knows the value of participating. She has even led three of the mothers she has served as a Doula to become members of FII. Olds discovered FII while attending a business organization meeting held in the same community center where FII was conducting an orientation. She was later invited to join by the facilitators. Olds finds that the best part of being a member of UpTogether is the support and inspiration she receives on a daily basis. She looks forward to her monthly FII meetings for love and support. She humorously likens them to a reality TV show as her group sometimes comes with the challenges of working with the diversity of age, experiences and personalities of its members — which she also finds very enriching.
On a beautiful Illinois fall day while taking her twins for their first semester of school at ISU, Olds reflected on how useful the funds from UpTogether were. Olds was gratefully able to utilize the funds towards the many different ancillary expenses that come along with a college education. She credits being able to send her children off to school as being another goal made and checked off through FII. Olds’ final goal was met when she got braces. Olds is now setting new goals for herself and family. She would like to take some long-desired family vacations with her daughters and move from the cold winters of Chicago to a state with more sunshine and a more inviting climate. Olds stated that she also finds the journaling as being highly effective as it allows her to review them and see where she is as she moves towards her goals.
Currently, Olds faces being quarantined due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, as most Americans are, and is experiencing its effects. She finds herself now working from home and no longer able to do home visits. This is also affecting her pay. Olds endeavors to remain positive while keeping indoors as directed, and turning a deaf ear to fear and negativity. With that positive attitude, she remains encouraged and hopeful while facing these days of uncertainty.