I’m Sarah Kolakowski, I served as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member with Arizona Serve for two years, from 2011-2013. I was proud to call Prescott my home over those two years. Outside of my service, I volunteered in the Hospice Unit at the Prescott VA. I also made wonderful friends that I continue to keep in touch with.
My first year of service was with People Who Care, an amazing organization that matches volunteers with community members who are no longer able to drive; People Who Care volunteers not only support individuals in maintaining independence for as long as safely possible, but develop long-lasting friendships with their fellow volunteers and the “neighbors” that they serve. Over that year I was the volunteer coordinator and grant writer, I was able to secure the funding necessary to allow the program to expand into the Yarnell area.
I decided to stay in Prescott another year because I felt the need to give back to those who served our country, so during my 2012-2013 service year I had the privilege to begin an activity program at U.S.VETS Prescott. U.S.VETS provides transitional housing to homeless veterans. Over that year, I was able to engage the veterans and support them as they developed friendships with one another and become more integrated within our community.
After my service, I moved to Denver. I obtained my Masters in Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver and during that time worked with survivors of the Holocaust. I was hired right out of school and currently work with individuals with developmental disabilities. I also volunteer as a CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate, advocating for the best interest of two toddlers in the foster care system. I learned about CASA while serving as an AmeriCorps Member, as one of my peers served as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member with the local CASA program.