Community Champions

Sara Drish Human Resources Business Partner, REM Iowa and Illinois MENTOR Community Services
Grant Recipient, Iglesia Santiago Parish

This past July, Sara traveled to Iglesia Santiago Parish in Boaco, Nicaragua, to complete a mission trip through her local church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. In preparation for the trip, Sara and 20 other volunteers collected clothing, toys, medical supplies and personal items to share with the community in Boaco, a rural and mountainous region of Nicaragua. Iglesia Santiago serves nearly 10,000 parishioners in Boaco, and Sara’s group was there to support them.

Sara spent eight days on the mission providing outreach, sharing the gifts that were brought as well as participating in construction work on an apartment building that will house nuns at Iglesia Santiago.

“I remember visiting a nursing home to deliver supplies, and nobody spoke English,” she recalls. “I sat with an elderly gentleman who talked excitedly at me for the longest time. I didn’t understand a word he said, but he was so excited to have the companionship. It was wonderful. We didn’t speak the language with community members we met, but between the smiles and the hugs, we didn’t need to. We shared a connection anyway.”

“I would go back in a heartbeat,” she said. “It was an amazing, life-changing experience.”

Sara also volunteers an average of three hours a week at St. Pius Elementary School, where two of her three daughters attend.  Sara’s been an active volunteer since 2009, grading papers, assisting with student projects, and serving as co-chair of Pius Pride, the fundraising group on campus.

In addition, Sara co-leads two of her daughter’s Girl Scouts troops. In this role, she organizes and leads monthly meetings and volunteer activities for girls ages 7-13. To get the troops in the holiday spirit, Sara recently led a group of 40 Girl Scouts in an evening of charity gift-wrapping and other festive activities. She has been involved with the Scouts for the past 3 years.

“I’m very blessed with my family, my friends, and the work that I do,” Sara shared.  “I enjoy paying it forward.”

“Sara is a compassionate and caring person,” said Lyn Dobbs, HR Director, Redwood North. “Her volunteer work is just one of the many ways we see this portrayed in her life.  I admire her commitment to our employees and to always doing the right thing.  We are proud to have her on our team.”

Learn more about Iglesia Santiago and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish