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Sarah describes herself as a “nerdy joiner” which is her self-deprecating way to say that she’s involved in a bunch of stuff. The full truth is that she’s an incredibly dedicated volunteer who offers up nearly all of her free time to support a half dozen organizations and initiatives around where we live. She is one of those crucial people who makes things run. It would be untrue to say her work goes unrecognized, but I can confidently say that few people really know how much time and effort she puts into all these things that she has nerdily joined.

She joined the board of our local preschool soon after our kids started going there, and excepting just one year, she’s been involved ever since. This year is probably the school’s most

crucial: we need to fund and complete a relocation, and if the project fails the school will probably close for good. And this is the year Sarah became the preschool’s President.

She’s also been on the board of our grade school and has been Treasurer for the past two years. Beyond the hours counting pizza and popcorn money, making deposits, and attending board meetings, she works through all the school’s fundraisers throughout the year (while the rest of us dance and eat spaghetti and whatnot). She also volunteers in our kids’ classrooms, providing one-on-one reading time to help the teachers gauge each students’ reading level and their progress throughout the year. And when our kids were still in kindergarten, she managed the “snuggle bag” program – sending bundles of books home to encourage literacy through family reading.

At church she sits on parish council, she is also a lector… and she spent two years assisting with confirmation prep. Sarah (and the rest of the council) have worked hard at making our parish more welcoming and inclusive and communal than it’s been in the past – and they’ve had great success. Which is thanks to Sarah and people like her, who are out there and active, greeting strangers, making introductions, and being an example of the best that the parish has to offer. And on top of all that, Sarah and her friend Beth run Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which is a Montessori-based program that helps kids deepen their understanding of the mass and guides them through hands-on work leading to religious self-discovery. Oh, and she’s also a recovering member of the CWL.

Over the past year, I’ve also become more involved in volunteering, and I say this not to congratulate myself in any way. I say it only because it’s given me a greater appreciation for what Sarah does. That level of involvement is hard, but it’s not just the time investment that makes it difficult. It’s the space these things occupy in your head when you’re not working on them. It’s the cycles of resentment, avoidance, guilt, and then full throttle effort. It’s knowing that your hard work in one area almost always comes at the expense of hard work that’s also needed elsewhere. But she keeps at it and it’s yet another reason why she’s amazing. She will always be one of the people that makes things run. She was a nerdy joiner at eighteen and she’ll probably still be one at eighty. 

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