Sarah Tyler teaches sewing skills to children and sets an example for them

There are parents who complain about volunteering at school. Then there are the parents who redouble their efforts, taking on roles on campuses where their children have never enrolled.

Sarah Tyler has stepped in as an individual PTA in unrelated schools as a parent, acting as a liaison with administrators to uncover specific needs and rally neighborhood volunteers.

In the Spring Branch area, where parent volunteerism can be unevenly distributed between neighborhood pockets and zip codes, she says, she wants to help where she sees a need.

Stephanie Hruzek is the Executive Director of FamilyPoint Resources, where Tyler is a long-time volunteer. FamilyPoint offers a community library, after-school program, and other enrichment services to help break cycles of poverty. Tyler has helped in a variety of ways, from finding masks for the kids to one-on-one homework help.

“She loves getting to know each child and their story,” says Hruzek. Tyler is “always super positive and encouraging. She’s the greatest cheerleader.

Through his volunteer work, Tyler hears about needs that go beyond FamilyPoint, Hruzek says. She has already watched Tyler take the initiative to meet with the principal of a nearby elementary school to find out how the community could better support the school.

To donate or volunteer with the non-profit FamilyPoint Resources community center, visit

“She is a great spokesperson and connector to the community,” says Hruzek. “She is good at amplifying this need and encouraging other neighbors to support it.”

About five years ago, Tyler helped start a sewing club at FamilyPoint. She began by soliciting donations of six sewing machines. Then she gathered volunteer instructors who also brought fabric.

After the children in the program learned basic sewing skills, they learned how to make drawstring bags and stuffed animals.

The sewing program has been a success, says Hruzek, and it continues to be a popular draw at summer camps and after school.

“Some kids only come for the sewing club,” she laughs, adding that the students have mastered sewing pajama pants, shoulder bags and office organizers.

Once during summer camp, a camper wore a skirt with a ripped frill. An instructor pointed to it as a way for the girl to use her new sewing skills.

“On the last day of camp, she wore the same skirt again,” Hruzek says. “She had sewn by hand and fixed the steering wheel. We were all in tears. “

The tailoring club offers a vital creative outlet, says Hruzek. “For a child’s imagination to take shape in a way that others can see, it gives them so much pride and confidence. “

“They think outside the box,” she says. A pillow project becomes a child’s desire to redecorate their room, she says, or fix things around the house.

“It’s kind of a domino effect” because children feel empowered, she says. “They carry all of these skills with them in all aspects of their lives. “

Tyler attracts volunteers to FamilyPoint because she finds her own charitable work rewarding, says Hruzek, gathering knowledge and “letting them know that every contribution is useful.”

She makes volunteer work “a lot of fun,” she says. “And it’s contagious.”

Tyler prioritizes other causes for children in his volunteer work.

She delivers meals for children’s meals, has worked for children’s advocates, and volunteers with The HAY Center, a Harris County resource for foster children.

His work with the HAY Center may consist of helping high school students apply for a job or exploring university applications and supporting them in their back-to-school purchases.

She has organized staff walks where the kids can pick out dresses, take makeup and dance lessons, and take home a bag of cologne and toiletries.

At Spring Branch Independent School District High School where Tyler’s three children attended, a rite of passage for graduates is to return to their elementary schools wearing their caps and gowns. Younger people make signs and line the hallways to encourage graduates, who wear T-shirts reflecting their acceptance into college or their postgraduate plans.

Tyler helped start the tradition at an area high school where no parent was available to organize logistics.

“It’s just a good thing for these young kids to see that this is what happens when you (stay engaged in school),” she says.

Tyler’s sister Tissie Bean says she has countless stories of similar acts of service.

“I just think that sort of thing is remarkable… not only does she volunteer at her own children’s schools,” Bean says. “But she does volunteer work… so underserved children can have similar experiences.”

Bean says Tyler quietly helps people she meets in everyday life that others might miss.

Once, at the grocery store, Tyler offered to pay for an elderly woman’s groceries. In doing so, she learned that she had just been evicted from her long-term hotel.

For a year and a half, Tyler paid his rent and drove the woman, Marion, shopping.

“I see the win-win dynamic between the service giver and the service recipient,” Tyler says.

“Our parents and grandparents, I have their generosity in mind, and that has always made me proud,” even stopping to help a stranger with a broken tire “might have been a bit embarrassing for me here. ‘era”.

Tyler raised his children, Hannah, Michael and Andrew, to spend weekends boxing food in pantries and making celebration signs for graduate foster children.

“I was inspired by the heroes who organize and run these nonprofits,” says Tyler. “I think it’s kind of a luxury because I have the time to do it.”

Allison Bagley is a Houston-based writer.

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