An associate degree in human services first led Alex Lovrien to work in an outpatient psychiatric center.
About three years ago, she joined the staff of Heartland Family Service, working in the resource center for child care providers.
Now she is the agency's emergency services coordinator for Douglas County.
No matter what the 31-year-old Lovrien has done in her career, however, she's certain of this:
“I know my calling is in this field.”
She's been in her current job since September. She sought it because she wanted to work more directly with people who need help, including clients who qualify for one-time emergency aid from The World-Herald's Goodfellows fund to pay for housing or utilities.
She screens people to see whether they qualify under Goodfellows guidelines. She determines whether the fund has helped them before and whether they can sustain themselves in the future.
“Clients know it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to get them back on track,” she said.
In October, Heartland Family Service secured Goodfellows' help for 155 clients — 25 with rent or utility assistance and the rest with holiday meal vouchers.
Lovrien, who graduated from Metropolitan Community College, works out of the agency's location at North 30th Street and Titus Avenue. She said Heartland Family Service has a variety of ways to help: a career clothing closet for disadvantaged job seekers; help paying for medications; counseling; programs for older adults and an after-school program for girls, among many other services.
Amid that, she said, Goodfellows is an important partnership because it's one of the few ways in the community people can meet an immediate need.
“It's designed for the lower-income working group that doesn't have a lot of resources for help,” she said. “It really does make a difference.”