Watching Sarah Bradfield interact with children at South Rome’s Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Georgia, you’d think she’d been there forever.
The former public and private school teacher has been the new resource development director for B&GC for less than two months, however.
She told the Rome Seven Hills Rotary Club on Tuesday she believes everything happens on purpose and her purpose is becoming clear.
“I dwell in opportunity. Where most people see obstacles, I like to turn them into opportunities,” the mother of four said. “Which is exactly how I see this next step of my life. I’m very thankful for the Boys & Girls Club and the opportunity to make a difference for children and this community.”
Her introduction to the vast array of needs in Rome — and the resources available to address those needs — started when she worked for the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority and became the director of the EnVision Center on the west side of town.
“When you’re working in housing and dealing with homelessness and people needing GEDs who don’t have a place to sleep and dealing with a lot of family issues, you learn very quickly what resources are available in my community,” said Bradfield, who also owns Roaming Photography off Broad Street.
She said she learned how important a supportive community is when the only funding for programs comes in the forms of grants and fundraising campaigns.
Helping people through the EnVision Center to navigate their own obstacles and find their way to a job and an independent life gave her just the kind of experience she needed for her new position with B&GC, she said.
“When I found out Auburn (Brasher) was leaving as the resource development director, I thought ‘This is a door. This is a window for me to continue to serve my community, just in a different capacity,’” she said. “I love that the Boys & Girls Club is family-friendly. I love that my kids can be there.”
Bradfield said she is excited to work alongside CEO J.R. Davis as they have a vision for the future they both believe in.
In 2019 alone, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Georgia provided 99,480 meals and a variety of academic support programs. Program participants have a 100% high school graduation rate.
Nearly 100% of club attendees are from low-income families and 88% are from single-parent homes, according to a fact sheet from the nonprofit.
“I’m very much a dreamer and think we all must be to start with,” Bradfield said. “You gotta dream big and that way you can encourage everybody around you to look past the stumbling blocks you’re going to face along the way while you’re trying to get from greatness to even better.”
Bradfield and Davis said they were grateful for the $2,328 check for the Garden Lakes at the Anthony Center B&GC facility. The Rotary donation represented a 50% grant match.
“True, we serve about 3,000 kids, but there are 20,000 more kids out there not being served by us,” Davis pointed out. “There’s a lot more work we could do. I’m a Boys Club kid myself. It does make a difference.”