For as long as she can remember, Sarah Caldwell has been striving to make a positive impact on her community through acts of volunteerism. She strongly believes that it is “important to contribute to your community without expecting something in return.”
Sarah graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Social Work in May 2011. After graduation, her job search focused on work where she could most utilize her degree. An AmeriCorps VISTA position with the Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry offered her the opportunity to serve while gaining experience in the field of social services.
In June of 2011, Sarah began her work as the Outreach Coordinator for the Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry. In her position she works with other community organizations to form partnerships that help fulfill the Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry’s mission, while also aiding the partnered organizations in fulfilling their individual missions. The partnerships help build the capacity of the Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry within the Chicago community.
“Working together with other organizations makes sense; it makes the organizations more efficient while also expanding benefits to the desired community,” said Sarah.
On a daily basis you can find Sarah blogging, tweeting or uploading pictures to ABAM’s Facebook page, all in efforts to expand the organization’s presence in the web community.
Sarah’s last day with the Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry is June 23, 2012. As the day approaches, Sarah is filled with a mixture of emotions. She said she will miss seeing the residents on daily basis and the atmosphere of the Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry. “The Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry’s mission is one I firmly believe in. It was important to me to be part of an organization that was involved in something bigger than myself,” Sarah reflected.
The biggest challenge of her AmeriCorps position was transitioning from the life of a student to that of a professional. “The living stipend is an aspect I won’t miss,” Sarah said. She does admit that the budget constraints provided a valuable lesson on what life is like for people living below the poverty line.
Sarah’s commitment to service will continue after her she departs the Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry. She plans on teaching English in Chile for six months and the perusing her Masters in Social Work and Public Policy. The Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry will miss Sarah and all her hard work!