Sarah Hipolito

Never Stop Learning

posted by
Sarah Hipolito
,
Program Coordinator, Senior
ASU Lodestar Center

I am a firm believer in the necessity of professional development, which made the position of Program Coordinator Senior at the ASU Lodestar Center a great fit for me. Before joining the rest of the team at the ASU Lodestar Center, I worked for seven years as a coordinator of youth ministry, or was what is more often known as a youth minister, youth pastor, or youth leader. Though traditionally not a professional position, there are a number of individuals who enter the field wanting to make this their life-long career — I was one of those people. I regularly attended professional development sessions every year.

As time went by, unbeknownst to myself, I had completed all of the requirements necessary to receive a credential as a coordinator of youth evangelization from the Diocese of Phoenix. I was thrilled and continued on with my professional development. Though this is no longer my paid position, I continue professional development in this field as a volunteer.

Is It Really All About Me?

posted by
Sarah Hipolito
,
Program Coordinator, Senior
ASU Lodestar Center

Ah, September, my favorite month of the year. My birthday is September 22nd and it’s a special day. It falls on either the first day of autumn or the last day of summer, depending on the year. I share my birthday with Scott Baio (whom I loved in Charles in Charge!) and — as my husband will never let me forget — Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, among other celebrities. Still, September 22nd has always been my day, in fact, I always considered September my month, though at least 15 of my friends and family also have birthdays in September. I’ve always felt special on my birthday.

Enter September 22, 2006. I was 9 months pregnant, due to pop in just 7 days — I was huge. My husband was graduating with his second bachelor's degree. I spent the day shopping with my mom for a gift and card for him. We attended his final portfolio presentation and then headed off to meet my in-laws for a celebratory lunch before his ceremony. Most of our friends’ and families’ comments to me that day were, “Wow, you look like you’re not going to make it to your due date!” Or, “Are you getting excited/nervous/ready to get it over with, etc.?” I’m sure a few of them wished me happy birthday and even gave me a gift, though that’s not how I remember it.

Switching gears: How I found my place in volunteering

posted by
Sarah Hipolito
,
Program Coordinator, Senior
ASU Lodestar Center

A passion of mine for the last 13 years has been working with high school teens through my church youth group. During my last year as a student at ASU, I completed a youth ministry internship at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center on the Tempe campus. After that, I was released into the "real world" and went on to pursue a career as a youth minister. I spent the next six years coordinating youth ministry programs for two different churches within that time.

I loved my job and felt so fed by the work I did and the teens I encountered — which made my next step feel more like a step backward rather than a step forward. Almost exactly one year ago, I resigned as Coordinator of Youth Ministry for St. Vincent de Paul Church in Phoenix. Why? Well, mainly because I wanted more for the teens of St. Vincent de Paul. It wasn't that I felt inept to perform the duties of the job; I felt like I was being held back. And what was holding me back? Myself. I was afraid of burn out.

See, early on in my career I was made well aware of the high turnover rate for youth ministers. It's not uncommon for many to only last two years before they burn themselves out. This phenomenon was explained more fully in an article from the Catholic Sun in April 2007. At that time, I found myself nearing the end of my third year in the profession and being a mother to a 7-month-old baby girl. Having already passed the dreaded two-year mark, I felt good about what I was doing and where I was headed.

All You Need is Love... and a Whole Lot of Communication!

posted by
Sarah Hipolito
,
Program Coordinator, Senior
ASU Lodestar Center

If I've learned anything in my brief six years, 10 months, and 27 days of marriage, it's that, in addition to love, communication is key in growing and maintaining a good relationship. Funny thing is, I learned the exact same thing in just one day while attending the ASU Lodestar Center's 2011 Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness. Well, we all care deeply for the missions of our organizations and those we serve — you might even call that "love." But, without good communication, we may fall short of our goals. With keynote speakers Travis Manzione (Director of Assessment Tools for The Center for Effective Philanthropy) and Charles Best (Founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org), and a panel representing local nonprofits and funders (including Ear Candy, Phoenix Youth at Risk, SRP, and Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust), you could not miss the message: Ongoing communication between grantees and funders is an absolute must.

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