- Cheri Russo Communications and Marketing Manager
Lancaster – Sarah Secoy says giving back to the community that has given so much to her only makes sense. The 27-year-old attended Ohio University Lancaster and will graduate this May with a degree in social work. She hopes to work at Fairfield County Child Protective Services to help children during critical times in their lives.
"Children are something that God has really given me a passion for," said Secoy. "I have done some volunteering at child protective services before, and I also work with children at my church. It's something I just really enjoy doing."
When Secoy was a six-year-old child, she learned she had leukemia.
"I just remember no matter how sick I was, I always knew everything was going to be okay.I had lots of support from the community and from my family," said Secoy. "I remember when I was heading up to Children's Hospital for my bone marrow transplant that all along Memorial Drive on the business signs it said 'Pray for Sarah' or 'Stick up for Sarah."
It was during this difficult time in her life that Secoy learned the meaning of community and the importance of encouraging others. Through coursework at OUL, Secoy has taken a personal passion to help children to the next level by becoming formally educated about issues in our society. She has learned how various agencies and interventions can make a difference in the lives of people, restoring hope in their future. Secoy now feels equipped with the knowledge and skills needed in her chosen profession. She is eager to make a difference in her community. Those that know her will indicate she already has a head start in her work to transform lives in our community.
Secoy was given the Emerging Athena Award in August by the Lancaster-Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce. The award celebrates young women in leadership in the community. Secoy says it's important for her to give back.
"This is a really great community, and I like living here," said Secoy. "I enjoy being involved. I like to do that."
Secoy is currently the program assistant at the Fairfield County Young Adult Prevention Initiative. The organization works to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse in the community and on campus with young adults ages 18 to 25. She also serves on a committee called "Prevention Works for a Drug-Free Fairfield County."
"I have seen personally some of my friends who have become addicted, the devastation their addiction caused," said Secoy. "I've also seen my mom, who became involved in the Opiate Task Force Community Education and Awareness Committee, and I followed in her footsteps into that. I saw it as an opportunity to join up with the community in tackling this problem."
On campus, Secoy is the vice president of service for Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity. She chose OUL for college because of the opportunities to serve the community. It was a good fit for her personality.
"I like that it's close and in the community. I remember going to 'Kids in College' over the summer when I was a child, and I really enjoyed it," said Secoy. "I like the atmosphere of a regional campus. I like that the classes are smaller. I love the staff here and the professors."
Secoy hopes someday she'll be considered by the chamber for the Athena award, which honors a woman for her long-term leadership in the community.
"I hope I can be a support for children and a good role model," said Secoy. "I'm very grateful for the support I have had, and I'm very proud to be working in this community."