Ollivette Allison was only 12 years old in 1936 when she came to Carrie Steele-Pitts Home (CSPH) with her two brothers. Through unfortunate circumstances, her family was split up and her two sisters lived with her grandmother. She bravely joined her brothers at the Home, not knowing what to expect. Not knowing that this place would be her home, her career, her life for the next 73+ years.
With the exception of one year spent as a social worker in Detroit, Ms. Ollivette (as the children lovingly call her) has been affiliated with the home ever since her placement. When Mrs. Pitts retired, she wanted to ensure that that the children of Carrie Steele-Pitts Home would be in good hands for years to come. Mrs. Pitts thought of the strong little girl named Ollivette who made good grades, graduated from Spelman College, and received a graduate degree from Atlanta University. Who would be better equipped to care for the children at the Home?
Ms. Ollivette knew that she had found her calling when she came back to be the Home’s first professional social worker. She brought her expertise to the administration of the home, and shared her incredible love and empathy with each and every child. As Ms. Ollivette explains, “There’s a unique feeling you have once you’ve been through something like placement in care, and it’s important that the children know that we can truly understand them.”
“The two most important things that anyone can give a child are time and love. I’m never too busy to talk with a child. If I see a child who’s stressed, someone who’s having a bad day, I’ll go and spend time with them right away. If a child comes into my office while I am on the phone, I’ll hold her hand until I am finished talking and then I’ll give her a hug and ask her how she is.”
The compassionate core values of Carrie Steele-Pitts Home are embodied in Ms. Ollivette and everyone who works and lives at the Home shares them, not to mention the Board of Trustees, the volunteers and virtually everyone who is involved with CSPH.
Although it is almost impossible to imagine Carrie Steele-Pitts Home without Ollivette Allison, she passed away on June 3, 2010. All who met her were overwhelmed by her concern for children and her commitment to ensuring that they have safe and loving haven where they can heal, experience the joys of childhood, and grow into responsible adults. It is with Ms. Allison’s nurturing spirit that the children are encouraged to reach for the stars.