Making Moves with Olivia Sanders

Name: Olivia Sanders

Years in Flint & Genesee: 5

Job: Non-profit Founder and Educator 

How she spends her time:

– Enjoying the parks and beach in Linden
– Playing tennis in Fenton
– Taking her daughter to the Sloan Museum of Discovery
– Going to the Fenton Library

What brought you to Genesee County?

When I was in college, Carriage Town Ministries in Flint reached out to various colleges in Michigan about an internship opportunity. I was in a phase of self-discovery and was passionate about working in a more urban environment. I had only heard about Flint before then, so I applied to see where it went. I didn’t know anyone around here when I was hired and that is when I saw the light of the area. Immediately, the staff members at Carriage Town offered up their homes for me to stay. I spent two summers there, then it came time to start student teaching. The family I was staying with offered for me to live with them while I did student teaching at Swartz Creek schools, and I got to spend my summers still working with Carriage Town.

By the time I was graduating and getting married, my husband was applying for jobs in both Lansing and Detroit, and I had a job here. So, we looked at the county and sort of darted on the map finding an apartment complex in Fenton.

How was the transition to your new home

Immediately after we moved, we got a puppy and found a great doggy daycare (Furlough Dog Daycare). Even though we didn’t have family here, there were families that took care of me when I worked here in college. We met friends and worked from the ground up to help plan a church in Fenton – we went to their first Sunday service and have been there ever since.

What is it like to run a non-profit in Genesee County?

It is unique. There is an objective need in the community and there is an attitude that it’s not a lost cause. For us, I think that business owners and different organizations in the community like what we do at The Way Coffee Co. And in turn have encouraged and held us up.

What advice would you give to someone new to the community looking to find connections?

You have to find your “third place.” That is sometimes a restaurant or a bar, a church, or a club. Genesee County has a lot of “third place” options. Southern Lakes Parks & Recreation has clubs and activities to get involved with, there is pickleball at Cage Sports in Swartz Creek, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars where you can frequent and become a regular.

Are you interested in the possibility of making the move back home? Complete this quick form and someone from our team will follow up with you to discuss your goals, interests, and why moving back to Flint & Genesee is right for you.