Sarah Varadian

Daily Point of Light # 3247 Jul 17, 2006

Sarah Rose Varadian has grown into the gifted and giving young woman she is today, committed to caring, and a servant to the needs of disadvantaged individuals in the community and beyond. Her life of service touches people at all levels.

Gregory Sullivan, Inspector General, Commonwealth of Massachusetts stated, "In my sixteen years as the Massachusetts House of Representatives delegate for the Twelfth District – Norfolk, and four years as the Inspector General of the State of Massachusetts, I have rarely seen so young an individual as passionate as Sarah in giving her time to the needs of those less fortunate."

In a televised speech following the events of September 11, 2001, President Bush asked each child in America to send $1 to his fund for Afghan Children. Sarah, all of thirteen years old at the time, turned to her parents and said, "A dollar is not enough from a teenager!" She organized a Children's Fair in her front yard and, with help from friends, raised over eight hundred dollars for the fund! This led to an ongoing interest in the plight of Afghan Children, especially the girls who, under the Taliban, were being denied an education.

Perhaps because she attends an all girls' school, where the students are stretched and encouraged to fulfill their highest potential, this struck a chord with Sarah. She is now best known for raising thousands of dollars throughout her high school years through her original independent fundraising project, "Wee Care Bears." Sarah sews miniature school uniforms to dress teddy bears for sale. She was able to sponsor the opening of two girls' schools in Afghanistan through CARE, International, to provide Christmas gifts for an entire orphanage in Gumri, Armenia through the Armenian Relief Society, and to provide diagnostic testing for malaria and typhoid through Science With a Mission, Inc, for a large village in Africa, saving many lives. Furthermore, she is currently training younger students to make these bears so that the "Wee Care Bears" initiative becomes a legacy that will continue at her school even after she graduates.

Sarah recognized and identified with a very real need, that of education for girls, and came up with an incredibly creative response. Because of her efforts and ongoing support, the future is brighter for many Afghan girls and, through them, for their communities. In addition, her example and leadership have served to inspire younger classmates to adopt her vision of community as a global concept. This is truly an example of connecting young women across the globe, for the betterment of all.

For her charitable work, Sarah has received citations from two different Massachusetts Governors (one from Governor Jane Swift and two from Governor Mitt Romney) as well as a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives "in recognition of creative, compassionate and innovative fundraising for the "President's Fund for Afghan Children".

Sarah has been recognized as a leader among her peers through awards such as the 2004 Ten Outstanding Norwood Youth (TONY) Award "for continually going above and beyond in terms of service to the community." She was one of the only high school sophomores to be selected in the history of the award, traditionally awarded to high school juniors and seniors. Statewide, Sarah was awarded the 2005 Sherman H. Starr Human Relations Award presented to ten students in Massachusetts who "exemplified in daily living a steadfast adherence to American ideals and the betterment of human relations."

An active member and leader of her church youth group, Sarah has participated in mission trips to the Appalachian Mountains, and to a Native American reservation. At Ursuline Academy, Sarah has been an honor student throughout her high school career and is a member of the National Honor Society. She is a leader within the school, tutoring younger students in a most "confident, capable and reliable way" according to the school officials. Sarah has been captain of Ursuline junior varsity and varsity softball teams, and assistant coach for the junior varsity basketball team. She has now graduated from Ursuline Academy and will be attending Stonehill College in Easton, MA in the fall.