Supporter Spotlight: Sara Triplett

This month we are excited to celebrate a member of the YWRC community who is empowering youth to recognize the power of their voices, Sara Triplett!

Sara started working at Goodrell Middle School as a Behavior Coach three years ago, and is currently a Behavior Strategist. She is also a co-facilitator for our Chrysalis Girls Group.

“As a Behavior Coach, I had a caseload of students I worked with after they were identified as being high risk for dropping out due to factors like attendance, grades and behavior referrals. As a Behavior Strategist, I now work more directly with the adults in the building as a prevention to having high-risk students at all.

The passion and commitment Sara has for the youth in our community is reflected in the many groups and programs she facilitates for students and teachers at her school.

“I also lead a book study with a small group of staff members around the book Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho. I share important dates in social justice history with our staff every morning, as well as a mindful moment exercise. I facilitate team meetings with our Business Tech, Music, and Arts teachers. I co-facilitate Chrysalis Girls Group. I facilitate Cosmetology Club and our Student Equity Team. I’m a member of our Building Leadership Team which also helps make decisions for our building. My favorite part, though, is being a friendly face in the halls for both staff and students.

Sara became a co-facilitator of our Chrysalis Empowerment Group to better support her students by creating a safe space to have critical conversations about female empowerment. Irma Tello, our Bilingual Empowerment Program Specialist at the YWRC who co-facilitates with Sara, shared the following:

“Sara is the new co-facilitator for Chrysalis after school group at Goodrell Middle School. Things were not looking good for Chrysalis in the first few months of the school year and I had begun to worry that Chrysalis wouldn’t happen. However, Sara came to the rescue! Thanks to Sara’s go-getter attitude, Chrysalis was up and running in a short number of days! She continues to provide bursts of positive energy and connections with the participants. As a co-facilitator, I have enjoyed jumping ideas and curriculum to each other as well as creating a supportive and encouraging group environment. Based on our consistent participants and their collaborations, I believe we are going in the right direction! ”

We are fortunate to have a partner like Sara who strongly believes in and is highly involved with our programs.

“I am so pleased to be working with YWRC this year. I have long wanted to be better connected with community organizations to better support my students. I LOVE the focus on female empowerment. Getting to work with a small group of young women is fantastic. I love that YWRC isn’t scared to talk about tough topics to make sure our girls get support and have the space to talk about tough things.”

It is clear to us that Sara places value on empowering students to recognize the strength of their voices and to advocate for the changes they want to see in our schools, even when they don’t see results right away.

“I have always said that one of the toughest parts about working in Des Moines middle schools is getting kids to believe it can be different. The American education system was not designed with all of our students in mind. There are so many flaws in what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. I want our youth to know that there are people out here that see that and are desperately trying to change it. I hope that today’s youth know how impactful their voices are – even if they don’t see results from it as quickly as they should. Stay curious, stay outspoken, stay pressed on us to do better.”

Her passion for encouraging youth to speak up and advocate for change is in part inspired by Sara’s mom, aunt and grandmother.

“Reflecting back, I realize how much of myself was connected to the women in my life. While my relationship with these women wasn’t always perfect, seeing how my mom, my aunt, and my grandma navigated their lives with fierce independence and conviction was always inspiring. My role models now continue to be women who make their own path and use their voice to impact change.”

When Sara isn’t busy empowering the youth in our community, she can be found enjoying all that Des Moines has to offer.

“I was born in Chicago and raised in a northwest suburb of it. I felt so lost when I moved to Des Moines in 2006. It has been amazing to watch it grow exponentially since then! I love all the unique restaurants, shops, and areas we have here. I got married in 2019 and it was so fun to see my out-of-state friends and family react to what they expected of Des Moines to what it actually is!”

Three things you may not know about Sara:

  1. She has a dog named Mac (4 years old) and a cat named Rooster (17 years old).
  2. She loves old typewriters and just got her first one (shout out to Valley Junction for having awesome antique shops).
  3. She starts off her day by completing a crossword puzzle because she’s convinced it activates her brain.

Thank you, Sara, for the incredible work you do to empower youth to find and use their voices. We appreciate the passion and dedication you put into everything you do.