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Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Barwinski

Meet Sarah. She is a newer member of The WARM Place Volunteer family, but that in no way lessens her commitment or passion for our mission and the children we serve. Even in a short amount of time she has found many opportunities to get involved and we hope her story and testimony will inspire you just as it did us.

Tell us about yourself! Friends, family, hobbies, pets, job, education, whatever you would like to share!

My husband (Jordan) and I live in Dallas (Lake Highlands) but our hearts will always belong to Fort Worth. TCU brought me to Fort Worth in 2013 and following graduation, I spent several years working for a tech company in Dallas, but I couldn’t stay away for long – I’m back at TCU, pursuing my MBA and set to graduate in May 2024. While my parents still live in my hometown of St. Louis, MO, my younger brother (who is also a Horned Frog) lives in Fort Worth, so they visit often. In my temporary “retirement”, I’ve learned to play mahjong, have always greatly enjoy reading and am training for the Cowtown Half Marathon (although the training is more aspirational at this point in the year).

We know your relationship started at The WARM Place as a Donor – can you tell us what initially inspired you to donate to The WARM Place?

It did! I was invited on a tour of The WARM Place through Junior League of Fort Worth, and before that experience was completely unaware of the work TWP was doing (and am so grateful to JLFW for introducing me!). I was really struck by the significance of The WARM Place’s work, while also recognizing that it is unique in what it offers. With that realization, it became important to us that we support TWP’s efforts in any way we were able to. While we lacked an abundance of time (then), we were able to commit to a (albeit small) monthly gift. We now give as a part of the Remember Me Giving Program, to honor my father-in-law, who we lost unexpectedly last year. That loss only reinforced how difficult (and frankly confusing) it is to navigate grief, and how important it is to have the right tools and support system in place to do so.

You recently started volunteering as a group facilitator on Monday nights – how has that been for you?

Volunteering as a group facilitator has been challenging in the absolutely best way possible. In the spirit of transparency, I was a bit nervous heading into my first night, that I wouldn’t know exactly what to say or I would say the wrong thing entirely. But in spending time with our group, I’ve found that listening is often what is needed most. I’m with the teens (Sons & Daughters) and have been astonished at the insightfulness of our group, as well as their kindness to each other in spite of everything else they’re navigating. Some nights the group delves into heavier topics and while that is absolutely critical to the process of grieving, other times the night is more lighthearted, and I’ve found that can be just as important to have. I think the important thing is that they are able to spend time with others their own age, who may have entirely different backgrounds and daily lives, but can connect with one another on that one deeply profound experience.

You even went to Camp Remember Me this year as a volunteer! What was an experience from that weekend that stands out to you?

What stood out to me most is the grit that the kiddos possess. For some of the campers, they were participating in the camp activities for the first time and yet that didn’t stop them. An entire weekend of trying new things is not for the faint of heart, and not something we necessarily face often as we grow older. I left the weekend with the reminder that resiliency is a muscle to be strengthened through practice, and Camp Remember Me was a wonderful opportunity to do just that.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering or even donating to The WARM Place?

First and foremost – thank you for considering The WARM Place! I think whenever we are faced with a worthy cause (such as childhood grief), it can feel overwhelming, as if in order to effect any change, we have to make this huge commitment. We may feel our imperfections disqualify us for volunteering, or our monthly donation amount is too small and wouldn’t make a difference, but I am a perfect example of someone who had a little bit to give (on both fronts) and that aggregation of everyone’s little bit adds up to be a really incredible something.

To become a WARM Place Volunteer and get involved like Sarah, click here to learn more!

Katy Kuack

Katy Kuack

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