I am very pleased to introduce, Sarah, as a guest blogger on this blog! Sarah is my youngest daughter. My book is dedicated to Sarah along with her older sisters, Deanna and Bianca. Sarah’s passion is working with kids with special needs and attends the University of Oregon, majoring in psychology. Sarah brings fresh thinking and enthusiasm to this blog, which is focused on families struggling with moral injury and PTSD. This is a blog for families, so engaging my own family members and loved ones has been a goal for sometime. I’ll turn this over to Sarah now, and give her an opportunity to do the introduction in her own words. As Sarah’s Dad, I am very proud to have her join me in this important mission to make a difference for others.
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story
|Sarah Elizabeth Sparks|
Hi everyone! My name is Sarah, and I am excited to participate as a guest blogger on my Dad, Steve Sparks, blog. Twenty-five (well, almost) years ago, my parents ran to UC San Francisco Medical Center and took me home the next day to begin my life as a Sparks. I couldn’t have been more blessed with amazing, supportive parents. Although I have lived many places including Honolulu, HI, Half Moon Bay, CA, and currently, Eugene, OR I did most of my growing up in the small Bavarian town of Leavenworth, WA. I attended Upper Valley Christian School through 7th grade then made the switch to public school, Cascade High School. In high school I enjoyed many activities including soccer, speech and debate, yearbook & newspaper, Junior class president, and running start, where I earned my Associate of Arts and Sciences degree along with my high school diploma. My life has taken many twists and turns since then, but I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I enjoy the big beautiful mess that I call my life. I originally majored in Political Science and History to prepare me for my long awaited journey to law school, but my love for humans and helping people won out. I currently am a Senior at the University of Oregon majoring in Psychology, with my focus on child development. Learning about what makes us tick fascinates me and has become my life and career. An internship through the University of Oregon’s Psychologyhttp://psychweb.uoregon.edu/ program brought me to The Child Center, a private non-profit company based out of Springfield, OR that provides mental health services to children throughout Lane county. After interning in The Child Center’s day treatment program for 6 months I was offered the opportunity to become a Behavioral Support Specialist. Since October 2010 I have worked in the ICTS (Intensive Community Treatment Services) Unit, teaching psychosocial skills to high-need clients. I am thankful every day that I have a job in the field that I love and that I am given the opportunity to help children and their families. Balancing a full-time job and attending University of Oregon full-time doesn’t leave a lot of time left in the day, but when I can I love to read, hike, scuba dive, horse back ride, and spend time with the people I love. The ocean has and always will be my favorite place and music is my escape.
I encounter PTSD daily in working with my clients and have experienced it myself. Becoming more aware of the challenges of PTSD and moral injury is half the battle and has been most beneficial to me in my life. Helping and making a difference each day for others is most healing. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences in life, work, and in college consistent with the important mission of this blog, and my Dad’s book.