If you’re searching for a little inspiration this holiday season, then perhaps this story is for you.
Many of us give to charity and volunteer our time here and there, but for Sarah Ott, it’s a way of life.
At only 17 years of age, Sarah has given countless hours back to her community and beyond through a plethora of volunteering, fundraising, determination and hard work, all the while going to school, spending time with family and friends and pursuing her love of the arts.
Some folks may find it overwhelming, but Sarah takes it with stride.
“I just have to stick to a schedule and everything I choose to do, I do because I love it,” said Ott.
Sarah was born in Germany, but moved to the Yukon with her parents in the first few months of her life. She got her first taste of helping others in elementary school with their yearly food drive. Sarah found the whole process of picking the food up and transporting it to the food bank for sorting rather cool.
As time went on Sarah became more involved with charity and started volunteering her time in and out of school. It was after her church’s food drive that Sarah began to branch out on her own.
“We did stuff the bus, people came out of Superstore and gave food. Because of that I used to go to the food Bank on my own, and I would help fill the bags for the families.”
One of Sarah’s passions is singing and she can often be seen performing around town for charity. It gives her another avenue to give back and peace of mind.
“It’s not about you; it’s about the people you’re helping,” Sarah says. “Music is a form of communicating without talking. People who are less fortunate don’t want to talk about why they got to this place, but when you’re singing it’s like talking to them through the songs.”
One of her favorite charitable organizations is Whitehorse Connects, which is an anti-poverty coalition that helps the homeless and less fortunate by providing warm clothing, meals and other personal necessities to people who otherwise might not have them.
“Everyone gets together and gives basic human rights to people who can’t afford it. It’s one of my favorite places because everyone’s seen as equal. No one has to worry. I help and perform there, they’re grateful that they have live music, grateful they get something they don’t have.”
But it doesn’t end there. Sarah takes great pride helping others outside of the territory. For the past two years, she became involved in a seven girl group to bring in the “Because I’m a Girl” campaign, an organization which focuses on ending global gender inequality through promoting the rights of girls and women and ending the cycle of poverty.The group holds a charity concert on Oct. 11 which is International Day of the Girl promoting awareness and goodwill.
This holiday season Sarah has been helping The Salvation Army by taking collections.
For the new year Sarah’s goal is to start an organization that will make hats and flower crowns for children with cancer and alopecia that will encourage them to “feel beautiful.”
For Sarah Ott giving back is not something she has to do, but rather something that helps her feel great about herself and get away from the daily grind.
“I like volunteering, like when you sing, you think it’s stressful, but when you help a charity it’s giving back to the community and it’s not about myself, it’s about who I’m helping and not a monetary reward, it’s a reward that’s someone’s life will benefit.”
For more information about the Because I’m a Girl campaign go to www.BecauseIAmAGirl.ca.
And to see what Sarah Ott is up to check out her YouTube channel.