This month’s volunteer spotlight is on Sarah Sharp!
Sarah Sharp, like most volunteers at Broad Street Ministry, has a unique background. Prior to her retirement, she taught Social Studies at William Penn Charter School for 18 years. Her teaching career lasted a total of 25 years, however she hasn’t slowed down much at all. Sarah currently works with the Global Philadelphia Association, which was started when Philadelphia was designated as a World Heritage City in 2015. The association generates interest and enthusiasm in the city’s culture. Sarah assists with their programming, interacts with different schools in the city, and conducts professional development with teachers. Last year, she led the first international World Heritage trip outside of Philadelphia to visit India and Nepal.
As if that wasn’t enough, Sarah also writes blogs for the Historical Society of America that center on the idea of Philadelphia as an international city since the colonial period. Sarah has also been honored with the opportunity to read and critique books for the South Asia National Book Association. One of the books that were rewarded, What Elephants Know, takes place in a national park in Nepal, India. Sarah and her team were able to visit the site, and took a picture holding the book.
Sarah’s former Penn Charter students informed her about BSM when it was first getting started. They spoke about their unique experiences and how interesting it was for them to participate in the different tasks and interact with the guests. She didn’t get a chance to volunteer herself until after retirement, but since then has been volunteering for a year-and-a-half in BSM’s different departments.
Her favorite aspect of BSM is how organized it is. “A volunteer comes in and they know what they’re doing that day. It is very easy to sign up as well,” Sarah said. “[Volunteers] interact with guests in ways that are helpful and [BSM] sets a tone of general respect for the guests.”
Sarah’s volunteer experience has shown her not only how volunteers impact the guests, but how much guests impact the volunteers. “You all as a staff underestimate how much the volunteers learn. Every time I come in whether I’m working at the mail table or serving upstairs, I get to interact with different people,” Sarah said. “We’re there to help the guests, but actually it goes both ways.”
Thank you Sarah for everything you do for BSM and the guests we serve!