Centerpiece feature for The Memphis Daily News
Nov. 27, 2012
Memphian gives back to community every day in November
Sarah Petschonek grew up with the importance of volunteering instilled in her by her parents.
As children, she and her two younger siblings would pull a wagon around the Jacksonville, Fla., neighborhood where she grew up, handing out fliers and picking up canned goods for food drives.
“I think there’s an important lesson there, it’s not just that we did it but that they took the time to tell me why we were doing it,” Petschonek said. “When you’re 8 years old and you go to a private school and everyone around you has everything that they need, it blows your mind when you realize there are 8 year olds that don’t have food every day.”
It’s a revelation that has stuck with her and shaped her. It compelled her to volunteer throughout her years at Houston High School once her family moved to Memphis, and through college at the University of Memphis where she attained undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.
At 30, having left a job in Nashville to move back to Memphis, Petschonek found herself looking at several months without work and was searching for ways in which to fill the time.
Volunteering, reflexively, was part of a plan that would grow into what she calls “Mission Memphis: 30 Days of Volunteering.” The idea was to volunteer with a different organization every day for the month of November … (read more)