The MENTOR Network

Sarah Martin Mentor, Illinois MENTOR

For Sarah Martin, every moment is a “teachable moment.” Whether she’s guiding her four kids through music lessons, spending time with them in the garden or assisting with an in-home production in their performing arts center, Sarah provides her children with the tools to enhance their individual growth and fulfillment. The music room doubles as a place for the kids’ therapy; the garden provides an outlet for the oldest boy, who is blind, to work on his sensory perception; and the performing arts center, which was specially constructed for them in the basement, offers them an outlet for greater self-expression. Sarah believes that everyone can excel if given the opportunity—and she is dedicated to making sure these four siblings get every chance they can. And it’s not just Sarah helping them grow and learn—it’s a community effort. As important as education and self-expression are to Sarah, so, too, is making sure that her kids get the respect that they deserve from the people they meet and interact with. In fact, she’s developed a unique system with the kids’ teachers: on days when the kids might be having a bad morning, she dresses them in a certain color, signaling that day’s challenges to the teacher. A fixture at the school and a tireless advocate for her kids, Sarah looks forward to adopting the siblings, and the process is already underway. The formal proceedings will only cement what her children know to be true: that the house—the “kids’ castle,” as Sarah calls it—is their home, and that they are a family.

The 2007 Ripple of Hope Award Winners were honored on November 13, 2007 at Boston’s historic Fenway Park.