"The work showed me that no matter how hopeless we may feel, there is always a hand willing to reach out and help. Kindness is real, gratitude is real, and integrity and love still live on in trying times." - Sarah

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Volunteer Profiles - Meet Sarah

Just months after losing her mother to leukemia in October 2015, Sarah began volunteering at the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County. During her mother's  illness, Sarah had helped to care for her and this task gave her daily life purpose and meaning.

"After she left us I felt I needed to find something to bring me out of the darkness, something to fill my time, lift my spirits, and honor my mom," states Sarah.

Initially Sarah volunteered in the front office, where she helped with various ongoing projects, programs, and tasks. When November arrived, Sarah was asked to take part in the Adopt-A-Family Project, a seasonal program devoted to making the holidays brighter for families in need.

"The idea interested me and warmed my heart right away. I was excited that I may have found a niche to be of greater help," states Sarah.

She answered calls from community members who were looking to help families around the holiday time. She loved talking with people who took time out of their day to pick up the phone to ask "what can I do for someone else?"

"This quality of compassion and service, reminded me of my mother, who always gave without any expectation for anything in return, " states Sarah.

She talked with callers, shared the stories submitted by families, and connected the donors to these families.

"Every day I received calls and witnessed the compassion and the shared humanity of my community. Not only did it give me hope for the families and gratitude for the donors, it truly brightened a dim time in my life and gave me hope for goodness- not only in my own world but also in the bigger world around me," shared Sarah.

"The work showed me that no matter how hopeless we may feel, there is always a hand willing to reach out and help. Kindness is real, gratitude is real, and  integrity and love still live on in trying times," continues Sarah,

As the end of the holiday season neared, Sarah found a story that spoke to her from a  mother who had survived the grueling cancer that took her own mother's life.

"My two sisters and I chose to adopt this family. As we shopped together, we thought of our own mother and the years of beautiful warm holiday memories we had shared together. It brought us happiness to think that maybe, in some small way, we could help this family create warm holiday memories together too. We had the opportunity to deliver the gifts we chose to the family personally, " states Sarah.

Although they did not share the story about their mother's passing, they did share hugs and tears.

"With just a little bit of time, not too much money, and some heart, we were able to create something for them- and for us- that neither family would forget. Seeing them together as survivors, and knowing that even in our time of sorrow, we could help a family that we could so very much relate to- it showed me that so often things in life really do come full circle. My sisters and I learned the joy and healing that giving brings. With compassion comes love and action. Love makes change- one person, one family at a time, " shares Sarah.

"My work at the Volunteer Center has helped to restore my faith in humanity by witnessing selflessness everyday. It has given me a sense of purpose and direction in a world where I felt lost and hopeless. It is work that I can be proud of and work that would make my mother so delighted and so proud," continues Sarah.

This year Sarah continued her work with the Adopt-a-Family Project by taking a lead role in getting the project launched for the year.  You may additionally find her on the phone-line so give a call today.

GIVE YOUR TIME: Are you also looking for ways to find meaning this holiday season? We invite you to check out our Holiday Volunteer Guide. 

FIND YOUR CAUSE: Still trying to discover your passion? The Volunteer Center can help. Connect with a Match-Maker

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