Thursday, October 02, 2014

ECKAN position offers Ottawan new way to help

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 10/14/2013

A drive to change the world remains, Crystal Anderson said.

And it’s that passion for human services that keeps her going, she said.

A drive to change the world remains, Crystal Anderson said.

And it’s that passion for human services that keeps her going, she said.

Anderson, formerly Camis, is set to become the new director of case management at East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corp. in Ottawa, she said. Her last day at the Willow Domestic Violence Center in Lawrence, where she’s worked for nine years, is expected to be Oct. 18, but she will remain on call until Oct. 30, she said.

Her first day at ECKAN is Oct. 30.

“The reason I like human services is because it felt like it was a broader degree, as opposed to social work that can be very focused,” Anderson said. “I can bounce around from working with domestic violence to kids — that’s what has kept me in it. Honestly, even now I have this naive part of me that thinks I can still change the world, that’s still burning within me.”

Anderson, Ottawa, has spent nearly a decade at the Willow Domestic Violence Center, she said, but has worked in Franklin County as well.

“I was the Franklin County program coordinator and started in 2004 and did that for four years, so I interacted a lot with other agencies in town,” she said. “I got to work with law enforcement a lot and [Ottawa Police] Chief Dennis Butler, who is committed to eradicating domestic violence. I was back last week for a luncheon they had, and it was great to be in a room with all these folks and supportive faces.”

Her roots are in Franklin County, she said, and she’s looking forward to being back working with familiar people.

“I’m so excited to be working for another great agency without the commute,” Anderson said, laughing. “I’m excited to come back and see friendly faces that I’ve missed and rebuild those community relationships.”

For the past five years, Anderson has been working as the director of survivor services at Willow, she said, something she will miss, but will be bringing those experiences to her new position.

 Having worked with other agencies in Franklin County, Anderson said, she’s looking forward to coming to ECKAN because of her respect for the agency and the programs it offers.

“What excited me about working with ECKAN is their standards there,” she said. “It’s a well-known agency that’s doing good work in the community. That’s why I started in the Franklin County position, was to help those folks who lived in the same town I did and whose kids go to the same school as mine did. And knowing that that work is happening in the community I live in.”

Anderson said she hopes to bring all of her past experiences to her new position with ECKAN and to learn about what makes the people she will be working with continue to work in the human services field.

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