Imagine moving to a new community with a new job, new home, new schools for your children and new challenges fitting in. Now imagine struggling with language barriers and a different way of living everyday life. Where can you go to get the assistance you need to be successful?
Sarah Brandt is President of Connecting Cultures of Yankton. Connecting Cultures is a group that provides a consistent roadmap on how to maintain a network of meaningful connections between community leaders, organizations, and community members across all cultures within an ever growing and changing Greater Yankton.
Because of her dedication, United Way & Volunteer Services of Greater Yankton was honored to present Sarah Brandt with the February 2023 Volunteer of the Month Award.
Sarah’s volunteer leadership and passion for Connecting Cultures and to help others, has greatly impacted the expansion of Connecting Culture's work within our community. She has been instrumental in starting the Leadership Board for Connecting Cultures, starting a Community Connections monthly meeting, and providing many individual connections to help newcomers feel welcome. Sarah’s work includes connecting individuals and families to employment, schools, transportation, churches, and many community organizations.
Sarah volunteers more than 35+ hours per week serving as translator, building connections for organizations, educating our community, and finding solutions for barriers encountered by newcomers to the Yankton area.
Rita Nelson, Workforce Development Director with Yankton Thrive said, “Sarah has recognized a multitude of navigation challenges and is helping serve as a voice and advocate for individuals in our community. Her passion to help others is contagious. She doesn't only do...She educates and builds connections so we can create solutions together and become stronger together. Her passion to Advocate, Educate and Celebrate all cultures is having an important impact on creating a more welcoming atmosphere where everyone can thrive. Therefore, together our community can thrive.”
We asked Sarah to share more about her volunteerism, in her own words.
I have lived in the Greater Yankton area since 2001.
I began volunteering in high school with my local church, the Yankton Area Literacy Council, and a handful of other organizations. Upon moving back from college in 2017, my volunteer efforts became more focused on the organization Connecting Cultures as the president. As president of Connecting Cultures, I network with community members and organizations to ensure that Yankton is a place where all are welcomed and all thrive. We host celebration events, advocate for different cultural experiences, and offer multicultural training.
I volunteer many hours in a year, and I do not keep track, however, I would estimate 35 hours per week.
Volunteering allows people to come together to serve the greater good. It is inspirational to see others commit their time and talents to help others. I have worked with so many great individuals with all the volunteer opportunities I have had and am grateful to have had those experiences with them.
The best volunteering experiences are when working with others. There is so much to learn from co-volunteers and anyone served by volunteers.
The advice I would give to anyone considering getting out there and volunteering is to find your passion and pour it into your volunteer work. We each have unique talents and abilities that we can share with others and make our community the best place it can be!
To learn more about local volunteer opportunities or to nominate a Volunteer of the Month, please visit www.yanktonunitedway.org/volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call United Way of Greater Yankton at (605) 665-6766.