A Year of Service: We’ll Miss You, Sarah!
For the past year, Sarah Bartlett, an AmeriCorps VISTA member, has been on our team as our Community Engagement Coordinator. From events to special projects, Sarah could be found in the thick of things, discovering new ways to work with the YWCA community. Before Sarah wraps up her service at the end of the month, we asked her to share some reflections about her work at the YWCA.
What was your position on our team and what did you do?
As the Community Engagement Coordinator, I helped out with each of the four Community Engagement vision areas: Volunteer Engagement, Advocacy, In-Kind Donations, and Community Outreach. To aid in our Community Outreach work and engage volunteers, I started the Speaker’s Bureau. This group of volunteers is specially trained to be ambassadors of the YWCA and the Community Engagement team, expanding our capacity to reach potential volunteers and donors in Snohomish county. I supported our advocacy efforts by working with our Firesteel Coordinator on an essay contest for high school students, and contributed to the blog (click here to check out Sarah’s post!). In-kind donation management took up most of my time, as I coordinated and evaluated our School Days and Adopt-a-Family programs, and sought ways to improve our in-kind donation record-keeping.
What was one of your biggest challenges?
The YWCA is BIG! It was always a challenge, albeit a worthwhile one, to get feedback from staff, donors, volunteers, and clients across the agency when making decisions and starting or changing programs. Though it can make work seem slow, it ultimately helped me and the team to make the best decisions for the agency.
What was one of your biggest accomplishments?
Building the Speaker’s Bureau was a great project. I had a lot of freedom to think creatively and strategically, and I got to work with great staff members and volunteers. Though it took a long time, I feel like there is a good structure in place to build on when I leave.
Any special moments?
Welcoming new members to the Community Engagement Team (Grace, Stephanie, and LeYi!) and lounging on a couch with 400 Beanie Babies after collecting them for our Domestic Violence Children’s Program- my first project here at the YWCA!
What do you want your legacy to be?
I hope that I’ve left people thinking critically about some of our longstanding programs and practices. Coming in with no prior knowledge of the YWCA or Community Engagement, it was interesting to look at things from a different perspective. I hope that I helped spark a movement towards examining our work from a perspective of efficiency and social justice.
Thank you, Sarah, for all you have contributed to the YWCA! We will miss you–good luck on your next adventure!