Sarah’s dream in high school was to play Division 1 lacrosse in college. UNH came through offering her a spot on the team with a partial scholarship.
For two years Sarah lived, ate and slept lacrosse with one exception, a trip to Honduras during the summer before her sophomore year. But, even during this trip where she did volunteer work in an orphanage, she fit in time to train for lacrosse. Little did Sarah know that this trip would in the long run change her trajectory at UNH.
Before the start of her Junior year, for a host of reasons, Sarah made a very difficult decision. She walked away from lacrosse, and as a result a whole new life unfolded at UNH and beyond. Sarah found herself involved in travels and activities that brought her in touch with people who have faced many challenges in life, unlike the path of her life.
Sarah has returned many times to Honduras to work with an organization called Hope for Honduran Children. She spends her time at the NuevoPariso Orphanage for boys and girls engaging with the children and helping with special projects. This community in Honduras has become her second home, a place that she returns to over and over. Poverty is not something Sarah has ever faced. She has been lucky enough to have traveled to many places with her family, but none of these trips were about immersing herself in another culture spending time get- ting to know local people and participating in their community needs. Her first trip to Honduras changed her life, her views on traveling, material needs, and what brings happiness. The
thing that amazed her the most during her visits to Honduras is that the kids at the orphanage were so happy and thankful for what they had. These visits have helped Sarah to be very conscious of her privilege and the need to slow down and appreciate all that she has. For example, Sarah gave half of her clothes away after her first trip and
vowed to buy used clothes rather than shop at the mall.
It is fitting that Sarah is a Social Work major at UNH. She loves to help people, and to raise awareness about people from dif- ferent backgrounds and experiences. Social
Work really fits her passions. Her major allowed her to take a class her junior year called Social Action in the Dominican Republic. The class traveled to the Dominican and spent time in a Batay, the name when translated means “very poor areas where homeless children live.” After returning, her class created the "Batay Foundation" a government recognized non-profit organization whose proceeds go to helping people in the Dominican Republic.
Sarah currently works at the Dover Children’s Home which serves delinquent youth who are court mandated to participate in the program. Waysmeet is another place where you may see Sarah. Through the Social Work department, Sarah has a year-long internship at the Waysmeet Center, working with the food pantry and organizing other outreach activities. She organized a City Reach trip for UNH students to spend a weekend in Boston doing community service. They brought clothes to a church in Boston and set up a free store for people to “shop” for clothes. Sarah is always on the lookout for things she can do to be of help to others. She became friendly with a family who used the food pantry at Waysmeet and learned they were living without a stove. Sarah was determined to help them and acted as a sponsor by applying for funds through Womenade. She was successful and received funds so that the family could purchase a new stove.
While being a Division 1 athlete is no longer a focal point for Sarah, she is still involved. She coaches JV soccer, basketball and lacrosse at Berwick Academy, a private school just over the NH border in Maine. This past year she was asked to be the girls JV basketball team’s head coach. She has also harnessed the UNH women’s lacrosse team to help out with the holiday food baskets organized by the Waysmeet Center.
Sarah bounces from one commitment to another while making time for academics and friends. She is mindful about the way she lives her life and makes a point of living a giving lifestyle. She loves her major and has immersed herself in organizations that link well with what she is studying at UNH.
When Sarah walked away from lacrosse, her mother reminded her that in life “when one door closes, another opens”. This has certainly been the case for Sarah. One new door has led to another as Sarah continually reaches out to local and international communities in need of assistance
and advocacy. As Sarah rounds the bend of her senior year she has conjured up a long list of ideas about her future. Who knows which doors she will open next, but you can be sure one of them will bring her back to her family