In her ten years with Kingsbridge Heights Community Center (KHCC), Sadie Mahoney’s passion has made her a pillar of support to her community. When a youth had nowhere to sleep on a midwinter night, Sadie took a trip with them to The Door to make sure they were out of the cold. When a young woman didn’t have the confidence to tell her parents on her own that she was pregnant, Sadie held her hand as she tried to find the words. When confronted with the violence of a distraught teen wielding a weapon outside of a community dance, Sadie was there to talk them down and deescalate the confrontation. It’s clear from the situations described here that Sadie doesn’t limit herself to her job description and that’s just one of the many things that make her outstanding.
In her day-to-day work, Sadie continues to redefine what it means to be an afterschool educator. Working ten to twelve hour shifts, nights and weekends, she has been an advocate, coach, and confidante to many of the youth that have come under her guidance at KHCC. Sadie has created projects like the Youth Leadership Council to teach youth about responsibility and leadership and the Guys and Girls discussion groups to teach them about trust and communication. And when confronted with the child obesity epidemic, she implemented dance and sports classes to engage youth in physical fitness without making it seem like work.
No matter what the circumstances, Sadie has shown she’s always willing to find a way to help those at her program achieve their goals. When faced with budget cuts, rather than accepting that programs would need to be scaled back, Sadie used her ingenuity and positive spirit to find new ways of supporting high school and middle school participants in their quest for higher education. She has embarked on an initiative to partner with colleges and universities to utilize work-study students as tutors through the college prep process. To provide funding for programs like this, Sadie has led youth to organize flea markets, bake sales, and other activities that have allowed them not only to keep the program going but to take trips to places like our nation’s capitol.
Opportunities like the ones Sadie provides at her program make a difference in the lives of young people today, preparing them for life has a productive member of their communities. It is because of Sadie’s commitment to providing these opportunities that the lives of so many have changed for the better and will continue to do so for generations to come.