A Wrong Meet Up Time Led to an Undiscovered Passion
Showing up at the wrong time to serve a holiday meal at Union Gospel Mission (UGM), gave Sara the opportunity to speak to a board member about other volunteer opportunities at the mission. She immediately had an interest to volunteer at the Women’s LifeChange (WLC) Center – which seemed like a good fit – in Beaverton. Learning Center Coordinator, Danielle, said:
“Sara Sample was like an angel who appeared on the doorstep of Union Gospel Mission's LifeChange Center for Women and Their Children right after we opened in December 2013. Although she has many professional skills she has always been willing to do whatever needed to be done - from stocking toilet paper to sorting the ongoing flow of donations."
At the time, Sara prepared to retire towards the end of the year and looked for opportunities that she normally would not consider had she continued working. She was excited to be part of something new and the start up process was fun for her.
Sara has volunteered for a year and a half performing in various tasks such as working in reception. She currently works in the WLC on-site thrift store training other volunteers working there. She also preps and teaches basic and advanced computer classes in the Learning Education Center within the WLC Center with, Danielle, the learning center coordinator. “Through this opportunity I have discovered that teaching the computer classes is a passion, I have, that I never knew about."
Sara sees the value of volunteering at the WLC. She said,
"Volunteering is important here because these women need support - they need someone in their corner. And if that means cleaning a toilet, teaching a class or making a meal - whatever it takes - to help support their decisions to change."
The WLC Center opened its door at the end of 2013 to staff and residents of the community and Sara wanted to make a difference by making things go smoother as a volunteer. Sara said, “It takes a bit of problem solving and I want it to be smoother and easier on staff. The smoother this place runs the better it is for the women who come here to change."
Sara not only enjoys developing the one-on-one relationships – an aspect that brings her back – but she also enjoys the face-to-face contact with the amazing women and the staff there. “I spent many years working on the phone and the computer with people, and I love the personal relationships here.”
Learning Center Coordinator, Danielle, continues raving about Sara:
"Her dedication to have a true servant's heart has also given her opportunity to do what she has really wanted to do - including teaching computer skills to the women in the LifeChange Education Center and helping each department establish documents and procedures. Even working in our on-site store (where women purchase items with vouchers for accomplishing their program tasks), Sara is able to minister and share her hope, her story and some laughs with the ladies. Without people like Sara we would not be able to operate as smoothly as we are now. She helps fill in the gaps where staff can't always stretch to reach.”
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