How to access a collection datasource programmatically

I want to track the progress of an order through our system (order received, order assembly in progress, order assembly complete, order shipped). These statuses are stored as entities call Status. I know that a collection datasource can be used as an options datasource in a picker field from the UI. But what I am hoping to do is to set the status of the order based off of logic in the code as opposed to a specific field on screen. I have tried to get the particular instance i need just simply calling statusDs.getItems() and searching through the Collection it returns but that getItems() returns null (why?). So how can I get a particular instance of my status Entity (received, in progress, complete, shipped) so I can correctly associate it with my order?

Use DataManager.load() method to load the instance of the Status entity. See documentation.

Datasources are required only when you need to bind entities to some visual components.