Sometimes life is simply not fair. At six years old, Sarah Brown tragically lost her sister to cardiomyopathy – a heart condition – and less than three years later, her brother died from the same disease. Only few years later, in 2002, her mother died in a car accident.
Even while supported by friends and family, most people would expect life to be difficult for someone who’s faced such serious challenges at such a young age. In Sarah’s case, the tragedy took a serious toll.
Sarah channeled her grief into sports through high school, but by the time she finished college she experienced mental health issues and was battling alcohol addiction. Fortunately, in 2019, her family stepped in and Sarah decided to enroll in Teen Challenge Cincinnati, a partner of United Way of Greater Cincinnati.
Teen Challenge Cincinnati Women’s Home, located in Milford, Ohio, is a seven- to nine-month faith-based residential program for women struggling with addiction and other life-controlling issues. They focus less on treating symptoms and more on addressing the underlying issues causing the challenges.
While completing the program, Sarah was asked to share her story at a corporate event supporting United Way’s annual campaign. Little did she know, the Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Acquisition at Belcan Engineering was in the room. The VP was so impressed with her story that he gave Sarah his business card.
In January 2020, Sarah was hired as an Engineering Assistant at Belcan and began thriving in her new role. Just a few months later as COVID-19 rapidly spread across the country, Sarah was temporarily furloughed, but two weeks later she returned and earned more opportunities to grow in the company.
With the support of her family and friends, Sarah is embracing her new journey. In April, she celebrated a milestone “quarantine” birthday with her two boys, Austin (age 10) and Ryder (age 3) who keep her very busy. In her spare time, Sarah pays it forward by volunteering with the Care Center at Northstar Community Church in Loveland, Ohio.
Our community needs social services, like Teen Challenge, governmental organizations, businesses, donors and volunteers to come together to build a system of care for individuals and families. United Way brings together the collective power of resources to achieve results that no one partner can achieve on its own. Every day we connect to people like Sarah, who are looking for support to build a better life, to the programs and resources they need to thrive. In her case, the help she provided to United Way by telling her story also opened professional doors, launching a new career as she began the next phase of her life.