Sara is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Ukraine where she served at a technical college for medicine from 2017 to 2019. Sara has worked with youth for 11 years in many different fields including coaching, mentoring, and volunteer training and facilitating. She is currently a second year Master of Public Administration student and Coverdell Fellow working with refugee-status youth in Tucson.
Sara previously earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism at the University of North Texas in Denton (where she considers her hometown to be). During her Peace Corps service, she realized her drive to develop and promote innovative programs geared towards providing equal opportunities (in education, mental health, or life skills) for minority and/or under-served youth that may not have adequate support, guidance, or resources. Now that Sara is a Mentor Support and Communications Specialist with the Refugee Youth Mentorship Program(link is external) (RYMP) housed under Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest, she monitors and checks-in with all the current mentors in the program who are working directly with refugee-status youth through their one-on-one mentorships. Sometimes Sara will also lead or facilitate workshops for refugee-status youth on building resumes, college readiness, and fun activities like painting; she also creates monthly newsletters including mentorship achievements, mentee and mentor highlights, and refugee resettlement resources. Through the Coverdell fellowship, Sara was awarded the Margaret Vaughn Award for Outstanding Service to the Community for the 2020-21 academic year.
In August 2020, Sara moved to Tucson to pursue the MPA program at the University of Arizona and already feels a sense of "home" here. Sara says: "The terrain (it tickles my outdoorsy side), the heat (yes, I shamelessly love it), the cuisine, the culture, and the people make Tucson very special. I plan on staying in the area for the foreseeable future and hope to grow my network of professionals and friends that are passionate about building better systems for all youth, from all backgrounds."
**Update: Sara now works for the Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest!