VA Palo Alto Health Care System
VA Palo Alto Honors First Youth
Today's youth are thought of as “the future of America,” but when you meet Sarah Babar, you can tell she will definitely be a future leader of America. On Friday, May 19, she became the first youth volunteer in VA Palo Alto Health Care System to win the Voluntary Service Leadership Award, and she deserves it.
Starting as a volunteer in a newly formed summer youth volunteer program, she worked closely with the student that formed the program. She eventually took on a team leader role and helped with some of the coordinator’s duties, while also fulfilling a volunteer position in the Operating Room.
“She has such a mature approach,” said Michele Larsen, a voluntary specialist in the VA Palo Alto’s Voluntary & Hospitality Service. “She leads by example, never asking anyone to do anything she hasn’t already done herself.”
And there is little that Babar does not do. From cleaning up Guadalupe Park in San Jose, Calif., to coaching soccer for kids with special needs, and feeding homeless people in San Francisco, there's no doubt of her selflessness.
Academically, Babar serves her school community just as much, serving on the Associate Student Body, playing sports, and being the editor of the school newspaper.
“My school is very empowering for women,” said Babar. “It is very disciplined and preps you to have balance in life.”
With two brothers and her being the only girl, she finds a lot of support in her family as well.
"I want to make sure everyone takes their responsibilities seriously because Veteran care is crucial."
“My parents really push me to do my best,” she said, noting it was her dad who encouraged her to join the volunteer program at VA Palo Alto.
While some family members are here in America, she still has some in Pakistan, helping her to be socially conscious of her Muslim background, and part of the reason she volunteers with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“It's really fun. Sometimes we get to go talk to state senators about Muslim rights,” she said about her work with CAIR, a non-profit that aims to enhance understanding of Islam and protect civil liberties for American Muslims.
Babar stays well-rounded with a fun attitude that stems from her passions of playing guitar, playing sports with her little brother, along with a healthy obsession with hip-hop (her favorite is Tupac!) and the Obamas.
“They are my favorite couple,” exclaims Babar, who says she loves to watch their speeches on YouTube.
Her recent award has led to her being officially offered the position of coordinator for the whole youth volunteer program this summer. When asked what she plans to do with the program, she said,” I want to make sure everyone takes their responsibilities seriously because Veteran care is crucial.”