Dream big: Woman discusses journey from foster care to the courtroom

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) -- Meet Kasey Olivier, an attorney in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She's also a former foster child who is now working to inspire the next generation of girls to dream big.

“I knew that to be successful, you had to go to college and I ended up here at Augustana (College),” Olivier told a group of young girls.

For Olivier, just getting to college was a big achievement.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be successful. But to me, I didn't know what success meant,” she said. “At that point in time, I was 18 years old and success really meant not having to live paycheck-to-paycheck or wondering if I was going to have to go to the food shelf again to eat, or wondering if I was going to have heat that month.”

Olivier grew up in the foster care system.

“I think it’s extremely lonely growing up in foster care because it’s hard to relate to other people when you're going through that situation,” Olivier said.

While she was thinking of college in high school, she had other, more pressing issues on her mind.

“I worked for a chiropractor in high school… and he knew how hungry I was and that I wasn't eating. So when I would come to work, there would be a Subway sandwich sitting on my desk,” she said. “It’s such a small thing to think to do for someone else, but he doesn't realize what a big deal that was to me.”

Olivier credits those small acts of kindness for helping her achieve her dreams.

“I had to raise myself but I did it by watching everyone around me and learning by example from really great people that have shown me immense kindness and love over the years,” she said.

Now she's working to share that same kindness with young people who may be going through similar struggles.

“I can't tell you how many times people told me I wasn't going to make anything of myself, that I wasn't worth anything and I couldn't do any of the things that I have done,” Olivier said. “My goal for these kids is to understand there is a path for them and there is an opportunity for them to be leaders in our community… that everything is possible, nothing should ever hold you back and everything is attainable.”

Olivier says she decided to become a lawyer so she could help other people; something she gets to do with her clients every day.

Read the original version of this article at ksfy.com.

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