Sarah was born and raised just north of Chicago in Lincolnshire and has been a Chicago sports fan since before she could walk; enduring the many trials and tribulations that come with that territory. While she ultimately decided to move away from the Midwest, she did attend undergraduate at Wheaton College, a liberal arts school in Illinois (and endorses the value of liberal arts despite all the jokes).
She developed her passion for community development during college with AmeriCorps VISTA, where she managed a youth community arts and education center in an area of Cedar Rapids, IA destroyed by floods. Her enthusiasm for fostering equitable change in our country brought her to Washington, D.C., where she’s lived for the past four years.
Sarah most recently worked as the program and outreach manager for Seabury Resources for Aging, a D.C. nonprofit focused on ensuring older adults age with independence and dignity. As 50CAN’s development manager, Sarah is dedicated to building up the organization’s support so that every child has the opportunity to attend a great school.
I aspire to be like my grandmother. Here’s why:
A child of Polish and Norwegian immigrants, my grandmother grew up on the south side of Chicago next to the stockyards. She and my grandfather met in a dance hall, fell in love and got married. After giving birth to twin boys at twenty years old and a daughter a few years later, my grandmother decided to go back to school. At a time when women rarely sought higher education—her entire school had only three women—she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
She chose to use her education as a public school math teacher to pass along the knowledge she had gained to future generations. To this day she is an avid listener of public radio, a diehard Chicago sports fan and someone who works hard to learn new technology as it arises. Her commitment to lifelong learning and investment in our future generations are qualities I aim to embody as I move through my own life.
Why I love my job:
Successful missions go hand in hand with great funding. 50CAN’s state teams are working incredibly hard and have inspired ideas to ensure every child has access to high-quality education. I am honored to be a piece of the puzzle – growing the breadth of supporters and investors so that our teams have the tools they need to carry out their work in increasingly creative and effective ways.
My connection to public schools:
I had the privilege to attend of one of the best public school systems in the US and I am a product of generations of educators. But my education was vastly different than many students just a few miles south of me in the city limits of Chicago. The moment I recognized that my peers were experiencing a vastly different quality of education has informed much of my personal and professional growth.
I am dedicated to the idea that high-quality education must become the norm rather than the exception.
What I’m bad at:
I am terrible at all things involving skating, rollerblading and balancing. In the movies, ice-skating is always portrayed as adorable and romantic, but to me those scenes look like nightmares.
The image that represents why I work at 50CAN:
My earliest childhood memories involve sitting on the bed with my siblings while my mother, a teacher herself, read us stories. She never missed a chance to read to us, and we’d spend hours soaking up fantastical worlds. My schooling grew that foundation through engagement in literature and intelligent discussion offered by high-quality teachers and curriculums.
I work at 50CAN to ensure that every child has access to school systems equipped to grow their knowledge and teachers empowered to grow their imaginations.
Image source: CCAC North Library on Flickr bit.ly/2fynb25 (cc)