Anita (Olson) Docherty



Life and Work

`Growing up, my life was quite turbulent. In grade 4, I met Anita Olson. She became my best friend. She took me to her house and introduced me to her family and they welcomed me with open arms.

More than once, Anita took me to her parents and arranged for me to stay the night, away from the difficulties of my home. Before I met Anita, I felt there was no one to trust or turn to.

One day Anita told me she had to move to Saskatchewan. She figured out that if I had a job things would be better for me, so she gave me her paper route and bike.

We lost contact with each other, but I heard years later that Anita's family moved to some town called Alix and I asked at a local store if anyone knew Anita. Jackie Hopkins knew - Anita had married Lorne Dorcherty and lived in Mirror. When I phoned her, I feared she would not remember me.

But she told me she had never forgotten me - her work as a foster parent grew out of our friendship, a friendship now rekindled and restored."
- Kathleen, friend

I first met Anita in March 1993 … I was nervous and scared - I'd heard horror stories about foster parents, but in a short time at her home, my life changed around. She took time to sit and talk … she showed me more love in my short time with her than I had known all my life
- Terri-Lynn Peterson

In the past 15 years, Anita Docherty has welcomed 160 children into her home. Their photographs adorn her walls and fill her album. She recalls their names and the gift of their presence in her home. Many children call regularly, though years have passed since their stay at the Docherty home.


A Letter of Appreciation by Livia Sidam

December 5, 1995

To Whom It May Concern,

Anita Docherty has been fostering with Alberta Family and Social Services - Child Welfare Branch since December 1980. Over the span of the last 15 years, Anita has brought more than 100 underprivileged and abused children into her home, and into her life and that of her family.

Throughout Anita's career as a foster parent, she has demonstrated an unprecedented amount of consistency, understanding and caring towards the children, families and service providers she has worked with. Anita has taken children who have stayed only for short time and then returned back to their families, and she has taken children who grew up in the child welfare system, never returning home again. In all cases, Anita has treated every child with respect and dignity, and she has worked with many social workers in trying to meet the children's best interests. She and her family have become an invaluable asset to child welfare and to the many indigent families who might otherwise be overlooked in today's society, if not for caring people like herself. Although many things have changed since December 1980, one thing that has remained constant is Anita's dedication and devotion as a foster parent and a caring member of society.

Respectfully Submitted,

Livia Sidam B.S.W.
Child Welfare Social Worker
Red Deer District Office