Ahoy! My name is Andrea Olsen and I am the Project Manager for Project REACH. After receiving my diploma in Early Childhood Development from Red Deer College, I moved to Hanna where my husband and I started our family. I started working for PLRD in 2011 when Project REACH began, as the Wellness Worker for Hanna Primary School. In 2015, I moved over to the HPS and Youngstown Family Resource Program to cover a maternity leave. In 2017, I returned to my position at Wellness Worker and Hanna Primary School and JC Charyk School in Hanna combined. In 2018, I started on an exciting adventure as the guardian of the School Support Dog, Maggie. In 2021, I started a new journey as the REACH Project Manager. I’m also a mom of two really great young men who make me more proud every day. As you can tell by my greeting, I love pirates and my favorite day of the year is “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” (Sept 19th).
Katie Suntjens, BA Psyc
Hello! My name is Katie Suntjens, and I have been with Project REACH since we started in March 2011. Currently I am the Key Contact for Morrin School & Delia School. I recently celebrated by 10-year anniversary with PLRD in November 2020, having worked first as an Educational Assistant in Morrin.
On a personal note, I grew up in Munson, AB and attended Morrin School for K-12. I attended post-secondary at Red Deer College, and received a BA in Psychology through the U of C collaborative program. I spent the year following graduation working, and moved to Washington state for 6 months (an adventure!). Upon returning to Canada, I accepted an EA position in Morrin, and the rest, as they say, is history! In April 2016, I took a brief leave of absence from my REACH position to spend 6 months working with the AHS Community Addiction and Mental Health team as an Addiction Counsellor in Drumheller, AB. In my spare time, I enjoy travelling, gardening, camping, trying out new recipes, and collecting vintage Pyrex, as well as spending time with my husband, our son, and our families and friends.
Hi! My name is Kris Thulien and I am the key contact for Consort and Veteran Schools. Before I joined the project in 2016, I worked as an Educational Assistant in Veteran School for 8 years, and alongside my husband when he was Youth and Children’s Pastor in our local church for over eleven years, running programs with children and youth from ages 2 to 19.
On a personal note, I was born and raised near Kindersley, SK, and attended college in nearby Eston. This is where I was swept off my feet by a handsome rancher from Veteran, Alberta. Twenty five years and two children later, we are still living in the area and love it! My daughter is married and lives in southern Saskatchewan and my son is attending Eston College.
I thoroughly enjoy farm life and spending time in my flower garden and with my animals. I love to travel, and have had the amazing opportunity to go to Mexico and Africa to work with children and families there.
Being able to work in our small communities is a huge privilege for me. I believe that small towns have so much to offer children and their families and I am thrilled that I was able to raise my own kids in this area.
My name is Ally Smyth and I am excited to be the newest member of the project REACH team! I am the key contact for Youngstown School as well as Berry Creek Community School.
Some things about me is that I just recently graduated from the University of Lethbridge with my Public Health degree. I grew up on a farm North West of Hanna, and love being a part of a small community. Some of my interests include musical theater, playing hockey, and two stepping. I am very passionate about health and wellness and I am very thankful for this experience.
I am very excited to start this new adventure and see where it takes me
Courtney Day, BCYC
Hi there! I am Courtney Day and I am excited to now be part of the REACH team, working alongside staff, children and families at the Altario School!
Growing up in the small town of Esther, I truly understand the uniqueness and value of rural schools. Moving to Medicine Hat to attend college and complete my Early Learning and Childhood diploma, I also had numerous opportunities to work with children and youth in a range of facets, including positions as a child development supervisor, a behaviour advocate in an outreach program and experience within a school setting. I relocated to Consort where I worked in Altario School as an Education Assistant, I created and ran a child development center before working at Veteran Colony as a speech assistant and most recently – a home visitor through McMan Youth, Family & Community Services Association before going on maternity leave. While working and through mat leave, I completed my degree in Child and Youth Care through the University of Victoria, graduated this fall, and I recently became certified as a Child and Youth Care Counsellor.
Outside of school, I have many hobbies – I love to sew for our little Birdie and others too. Being outside is our favorite place to be – in our backyard, camping or exploring new countries. As for my most often asked question – my favorite color is purple and sparkles.
I am excited to be back in the classroom and looking forward to working in this community again!
Lorrenda Southern, DipSW, MA
Hello! My name is Lorrenda Southern and I have the privilege of being the Wellness Worker for nine Hutterite colonies in Prairie Land School Division. Growing up in a prairie town in Saskatchewan where most of the families farmed, including my close family members, has assisted me in appreciating the joys and challenges rural families face. My working career has equipped me to become culturally competent and more over all rounded in a variety of teaching approaches due to assisting clients from diverse vulnerable sectors and cultures. Having a passion to help others has led me to further my education within a variety of counseling approaches, including a Social Work Diploma, and Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peace Building. Ultimately my greatest value is spending time with my family. My husband, children, and grandchildren bring me my greatest joy, and I can’t forget my dog Max. It is a joy and privilege to teach mental wellness to children and see them grow and develop interpersonal skills that they can use for life.