Sarah Desjarlais , Founder and Executive Director of ‘Office Moms & Dads’, Wife and Mom to five incredible kids.
J Hawk and Rob C catch up with Sarah Desjarlais – a foster parent and community activist, who found herself in a meeting at the child welfare offices of her hometown in Vancouver, Washington planning a graduation party for the class of 2013. It was during that meeting that Sarah witnessed a little boy sitting in a conference room. The meal that his social worker had purchased for him was sitting untouched on the table, and his Care Box lay open, haphazardly gone through. This 9-year-old boy seemed to sink into the chair he occupied. He sat there alone, in every sense of the word. His social worker sat across the hall in a cubicle, feverishly working the phone, trying to find him a suitable placement, a place he could call home.
In the same breath, Sarah witnessed two small sisters giggling, running full speed through the office, their social worker in hot pursuit. It occurred to her how hard it would be to do the things required of a social worker while constantly being pulled in all directions, to find them a new home, and to entertain them while the search continues and sometimes for hours. Sarah immediately felt that there must be something that could be done to ease the situation for the child (ren) and the social worker.
Weeks later at the Graduation Party, Kim was working the room with a photographer’s eye, her Nikon810 in hand. Kim, a CPS Social Worker by day and photographer by night, was lending her talent at the party taking pictures for the graduates. Sarah was delivering gift baskets that had been donated by the community and the two struck up a conversation.
The beginning of OMD was in the works the moment a question was posed: What would happen if the community could provide childcare in the office?
The stars aligned, and the rest is history. Together with a team of 5 gracious volunteers, Kim and Sarah launched Office Moms & Dads. New lessons were learned each day as they forged ahead with an idea that had never been tried before in the world of child welfare.
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