|Local legend, Sandee Hart.
Sande Hart of Rancho Santa Margarita is not only a public speaker and author, but she is also someone who wanted to help other women after September 11 cope better with their lives. Not only does she have a busy schedule, but that doesn’t stop her from helping her fellow woman through her writings and public speaking. She actually founded a special group called Spiritual And Religious Alliance for Hope also known as S.A.R.A.H.
“After 9/11, I became acutely aware of the need to surround myself with women and bring women together. I invited 12 women into my living room and 7 years later, we are a thriving organization; S.A.R.A.H.,” says Hart, who also serves as the president. “S.A.R.A.H. is not a political organization as we find it is divisive and detracts us from our peace process. We address the needs of everyone from every country as it applies to their religion and faith tradition.”
The author of Make a Difference 101, Community Service; a Practical Step- by-Step Guide for Kids, is also a community activist involved in promoting interfaith understanding, reconciliation and collaboration, mostly through S.A.R.A.H.
“As a kid, I always saw myself standing up in front of large groups of people, but doing what? I didn't know. I just knew I could mobilize people,” she says.
Some of the things that S.A.R.A.H. does include: monthly meetings, engaging the community in community service offers panel discussion and programs that promote interfaith understanding. The Web site helps to spread the word with posted empowerment opportunities, a community calendar, pictures, and links.
Volunteering in the community is nothing new for Hart, she also serves as the O.C. Coordinator for Big Sunday, the country's largest community service weekend, she is on the Board for The Interfaith Youth Council, and will serve as Chair of The Religious Diversity Forum at UCI next month.
In December, Hart, 48, will be traveling to Melbourne, Australia, for the Parliament of The World's Religions to conduct a workshop on "The Women's Interfaith Initiative and Grassroots Movement."
By learning about other religions and traditions, I have found I have deepened the roots of my own faith tradition,” she says. “I also get to absorb all of the wisdom from Orange County's (and others around the world) most amazing women.”
Hart adds that the best part of all of this work is witnessing the love and generosity of others.
“I simply marvel at the love and generosity of the people doing great work in our county and around the world,” she says. “It's a gift to witness the selfless giving on our Big Sunday weekend, the willingness to open the heart during our dialog meetings, and how powerful beyond measure our youth are when we empower them with tools and skills to be effective in their community.”
On the flip side, the most challenging aspect she says is seeing those in the community who would rather maintain stereotypical images and biased opinions rather than be willing to explore the beauty of diversity.
“We have a choice to create a more harmonious and safe community by seeing our neighbor as we see ourselves,” she says.
Hart is has been married to Patrick for 21 years, and they have two children, Emily, 20, and Matt, 18.
Besides S.A.R.A.H. and Make a Difference 101, she enjoys going to Lake Mead with her family in her spare time.
Visit www.Sarah4hope.org for further information about the organization and how to get involved.