by Chelsea Nelson

Communications Director

We are excited to have another awesome Volunteer Spotlight during VOLUNTEER MONTH!  We love receiving stories about the great work that is happening in our neighborhoods.  United Way of Salt Lake partners with Salt Lake CAP Head Start, so we were excited to hear about a wonderful volunteer who had been working with the Head Start program.

Sariah Meadows has been volunteering with the Head Start program in West Valley for the past two years and donates about 6-8 hours of time a week.  Katie Smith, the volunteer coordinator there, said that Sariah makes herself available to support the needs of the Head Start program in any way she can–whether it is putting together a bulletin board, doing paperwork, or assisting as another set of hands for the teachers.  Sariah is always up to the challenge! Just this past year, Head Start was going through the NAEYC accreditation process and Sariah was a tremendous help.

Sariah first started volunteering in Jr. High at an animal shelter in her neighborhood.  She thought it sounded like fun, but realized later that she was actually having fun because she was helping others–whether they were human or animal!  She is passionate about volunteering because it allows her to do the things she loves: providing service to others, learning about organizations, and working with inspirational people.  Sariah says, “volunteer work has always been a positive, all around inspirational thing to do–and I find the more I do, the more I WANT to do!”

Because of her love for volunteer work and being involved in helping others in her community, Sariah naturally fell into the social services track for her education and is a full-time student at the University of Utah.  Always being a “concerned citizen,” even as a child, social work as a profession seemed like the natural step to take for her career.  Because of this educational background that Sariah now has, when the Family Advocates at Head Start have large case loads, Sariah has been able to put those skills to good use and provide meaningful help. Now, Sariah’s volunteer work is consciously steered toward social service programs, where she can gain work experience for later in her career. On top of being a full-time student, Sariah also works just shy of full-time to pay for school– however, Sariah always makes her volunteer work a priority.

When asked why Sariah chose the Head Start Program to volunteer her time with, she said, “I feel it is a great program and I love to be a part of it.  Often times, especially in under-served communities, it is extremely difficult to find child care that is of quality as well as affordable.  All children deserve a safe environment to learn and play in, and Head Start provides this environment for many children who many not otherwise have it.”

We want to thank Sariah for all of her hard work to make our community a better place!  United Way of Salt Lake loves what the Head Start Program does for our kids, and having wonderful volunteers like Sariah makes all the difference!

Thank you, Sariah, for LIVING UNITED!