“Being surrounded all these years by incredible staff has made me feel like I’m part of something bigger. It’s a family that supports everyone in sickness and in health. They comfort you just like a family does and help you get through very hard life- changing episodes.”
– Sarah Philipsheck
Operations and Transport Manager
In the summer of 1971, Sarah Philipsheck hitchhiked across the country to California with a friend. Later that year, she met her future husband when he was delivering wood to her sister. One year later, they decided to get married. Sarah and her husband lived in Inverness until they became homeless for almost a year. They were able to get back on their feet with the help of friends and moved to Fairfax. Shortly after settling in Fairfax, Sarah applied for a job at the Marin Head Start Program, introducing her to Community Action Marin.
In 1981, she was hired for a part time job as an office receptionist making $4.75 per hour. With a child of her own now in the program, getting the job helped her get re-established in the workplace and gain financial stability for her family. Sarah remembers her early years vividly. In 1982-83, the program helped Vietnamese refugee families who had come into Marin to get settled. Some of the children did not speak because they were traumatized from hiding in the jungles in Vietnam and making the long journey to get to freedom.
Over Sarah’s years with the agency, she has supported countless families and children. Sarah says, “Even after all these years the passion is here because I know we have helped hundreds of families that have passed through Head Start & Early Head Start to become self-sufficient. To know we have given some of them the ability to believe they can achieve goals they never thought were possible makes me proud to be part of this work.“
Sarah is currently the Operations and Transportation Manager for the Children and Family Services program. She is most proud of the opportunity her granddaughter has now as part of the Head Start program.
“I must say I think I got my higher education at Head Start. I took an accounting course, I have been to many, many fiscal trainings, and I learned about domestic violence from the victim’s standpoint,” Sarah says. “I have been mentored, I have been coached, I have taken leadership courses. All of these things have guided me along my journey.”
Sarah’s supervisor, Program Director, Jan Yarish, notes:
“Sarah has served our program for 39 years with heart, integrity, commitment and a great sense of humor. She has healed many days with her wonderful laughter. She has been the rock, the glue, the celebrator, the fixer, the history-bearer, the detail holder, the files keeper, the budget-expert, bridge-builder, amazingly creative cake-baker, and the heart and soul of our team. Her passion for this work has never wavered and her belief in what we do has given us all strength. It has been an honor to work alongside her all these years.”
We thank you, Sarah, for your service and dedication. You have helped to make Marin County stronger through your work and caring. We celebrate you!