This month, we interview Proskuneo School of the Arts volunteer, Sarah Hicks. Sarah has been working at PSOTA since the beginning and has a huge heart for the community we serve. Sarah has a knack for creating community wherever she goes. Catch a glimpse of our Proskuneo School of the Arts through Sarah’s eyes:
How are you involved with PSOTA? What capacities?
Working with PSOTA is so often the highlight of my week! Instead of sleeping in on Saturday mornings like most teenagers, I wake up early and drive an hour to the incredible place that is the School of the Arts. I normally find my home in charge of the Art room, which has gained the nickname the Community Room, because often students who are waiting on a guitar or piano class will make their way to the Art room to just hang out. I also love being able to help lead the morning activity and interact with all the students who come to the school!
Why do you invest in PSOTA?
There are so many reasons why I go to PSOTA. The students bless me so much and they make me feel like waking up early and spending my Saturdays there is more than worth it. The looks on the students’ face when they play a C scale on the piano right for the first time, or sing an entire song without making any mistakes is beyond priceless. These students, who may not have another opportunity to be a part of a music or art lessons, are why I invest the time I do in PSOTA. It is so incredible to me that God has allowed me to be a part of something like PSOTA, and that He continues to use the school to impact and inspire me.
What do you like about PSOTA?
The students that come are the number 1 thing I love about PSOTA! They are incredible and so often talented beyond words! Another thing I love about PSOTA is the sense of community that flows through the people that are a part of PSOTA, not just among the students, but the volunteers, friends, and family that make their way to the school. Every person that journeys up the three flights of stairs and through the doors into the school are part of this community that is so unbelievably wonderful that it has to be a God thing. The last thing that I will say I love about PSOTA is the bridges that it builds. In one guitar class you can have students from the Sudan, Thailand, Congo, and Columbia. Many would expect it to be difficult to communicate and that there would be barriers between the students, but instead there are conversations filling the air as they all ask questions about chords and congratulate each other on their successes! Bridges are constantly being built.
How have your grown/benefited because of your involvement in PSOTA?
God has taught me a lot about being grateful for every opportunity I have to be involved in the arts, and that I need to take hold of those opportunities, because I do not know when they will arise again. I have also realized how incredible culture truly is. I have been a part of Proskuneo for some time, but the school is a whole different level of cultures coming together. There are students from so many cultures and many times they will all work together for a common goal, and when they succeed it is truly beautiful. It is one of the most inspirational places I have ever been.
Share a story or meaningful moment of your time at PSOTA.
This moment actually happened during a meeting with all of the volunteers after PSOTA one day. We were all sharing stories and ideas for the school and someone mentioned one of the students talking about how the school was such an amazing opportunity for them, because all they had ever known was living in the middle of a war zone. That struck me and I was busy thinking of that while others continued to share. My ears perked up when I heard Josh Davis sharing a story of going to one of the volunteers favorite local restaurants. He shared how one afternoon when he was inside, he had a conversation with one of the women who works in the shop. This woman has brought her children to the school a few times. She has repeatedly thanked us for this opportunity for her children to learn music and art, and has told us how her childhood was so different. She has said that all she knew as a child was that they were constantly running from war. It is incredible for me to picture our precious students running from soldiers and gunfire. I cannot imagine seeing the smiling faces of the children who come to the school, replaced with faces of children full of terror and sadness. It is a tremendous opportunity to serve in this incredible community full of these precious students who are no longer running from war.