Community Navigator – Columbia Heights
Sara comes to District Bridges with a background in Latin American Studies and Human Development and over 12 years working with immigrant communities in the DMV. Most recently she worked as a part of CASA de Maryland’s Policy and Community Development team, managing a multi-million dollar federally funded community-based crime prevention and placemaking grant in Langley Park, MD. While in Langley Park, Sara had the chance to work with residents on a variety of initiatives, from local level lobbying to coaching a youth soccer team. Prior to that she worked for a number of community based organizations in DC, providing direct social services and holistic case management, and working in outreach, education and community activism and organizing.
Sara’s first job in DC was as a TESOL instructor, where she worked with students from over 40 different countries all in one building. Sara taught English at the International Language Institute, the Washington English Center and co-chaired the All Souls Unitarian ESL program in Columbia Heights. It was through her teaching that she fell in love with the unique history and diversity of DC’s neighborhoods and residents. She has also worked as an immigration legal assistant for a number of years and enjoys volunteering as a legal interpreter with unaccompanied minors.
In 2011 Sara founded Tob’anik USA, the US branch of Tob’anik e.V., a Guatemalan-German based nonprofit focussing on educational development in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. She served as Director of Operations for seven years and can’t wait until the next time she is able to visit beautiful Guatemala.
Sara holds an MA in Latin American Studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University as well as an MA in Anthropology from Columbia University and a BA in Archaeology from the George Washington University. At Georgetown she held a research fellowship with the Center for Latin American Studies, conducting collaborative research on government and institutions throughout Latin America. Her degrees have allowed her the opportunity to travel and work in Spain, Italy, Israel, Mexico and Guatemala. While her formal training is in international development, Sara has found her way back to community development and finds joy working with local communities where she lives. Sara currently resides in Montgomery County, MD and enjoys exploring hiking trails in the area with her two boys and Puerto-Rican rescue dog.