Thursday, January 26, 2012

Meet the RTS Staff: Sarah Ihrie

Introducing Sarah Ihrie, Rebuilding Together Seattle's Director of Programs!

Sarah joined Rebuilding Together Seattle in February 2010, assisting with RTS's Program and Development efforts. Sarah became the new Director of Programs (formerly Program & Marketing Manager) in August 2010. At RTS, Sarah manages the RTS Programs (Safe at Home, Team Build, and Spring Rebuilding Day), Site Preview Team, Outreach activities, and helps with various Marketing and Development efforts.

RTS is grateful for the big impact Sarah has made to the RTS programs during her time here. In addition to helping launch and expand the Safe at Home Program, Sarah has significantly increased the Seattle community's awareness about RTS, helping double the number of applications received during the past fiscal year.

Let's hear from Sarah!

1. How did you first hear about Rebuilding Together Seattle?

I first heard about RTS through the current Executive Director, Margie Thirlby. Margie and I became friends when I moved to Seattle almost 6 years ago.

2. Why do you like working at Rebuilding Together Seattle?

I feel like there are always more homeowners who need our help, so there's always an urgency to improve our systems and expand our programs. I enjoy this challenge because I believe we can constantly be making improvements and growing the organization. I have enjoyed being a part of the growth that RTS has experienced over the last few years, and look forward to building the organization even more by increasing the number of volunteers and community partners who can help complete the critical repairs needed by so many homeowners.

3. Why do you believe in the mission of RTS?

I believe in the RTS mission because as our population ages and our economy struggles, our services will be more and more needed- not just by the homeowners but also by the neighborhoods, cities and counties in which they live. Keeping our aging citizens independent in their homes will relieve society of a burden that will be increasingly felt as the years progress. Beyond these very practical applications of our mission, I like providing a service that can give a person hope and restore their pride in homeownership and in the process of this transformation it's really amazing to see communities come together to help a neighbor in need.

4. What has been your favorite memory so far with RTS?

My favorite memory with RTS has to be my relationship with an elderly homeowner named James. He needed a new roof, which we don't currently do at RTS, but he would call me like clockwork to check in on how everything was in my life, including asking about my husband, my family, friends, you name it. In exchange, he told me stories about his life and family. At one point he needed someone to help him mow his lawn. My husband and I took a Saturday and spent it mowing and trimming and pruning up his yard. The three of us had ice cream together afterward. I don't develop this type of relationship with every homeowner, but it is these interactions that keep me invigorated about my work at RTS.

5. Tell us more about yourself – what do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I love to write. I am currently taking a class in creative nonfiction and maintain a personal blog. I am also a licensed attorney, so I spend time volunteering for various King County Bar Association legal clinics. I also take pride in staying active and regularly attend yoga classes, go for jogs, and occasionally take on a Crossfit workout. These activities, along with balancing marriage and being the proud owner of a crazy Labrador named Tonka, keep me very busy!

6. What are your hopes for RTS in years to come?

I hope that the greater Seattle community becomes more familiar with who we are and what we do. I want us to become the household name that pops into a person's head when they think of free home repairs!

Thank you, Sarah, for all you do for Rebuilding Together Seattle! Thank you for making our mission possible.

Sarah and her dog, Tonka (one of the most special members of the RTS Staff!)

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