PHS Member Spotlight: Sarah Brown

Jun 3, 2024 | Blog

Named for Patricia Hart, a Williamson County resident and longtime community volunteer, the Patricia Hart Society provides opportunities for its members to lend their time, talents and energy to supporting United Way’s early childhood education and literacy work. While comprised primarily of female supporters, the Patricia Hart Society is open and welcoming to all, with a minimum annual gift of $500 to United Way of Greater Nashville. We have 250 members who donate a total of $400,000 to our work annually. 

Today we are spotlighting PHS board member, Sarah Brown. Sarah is a teacher, mother, author, and community volunteer. Read our interview with Sarah below: 

You serve on the Patricia Hart Society board. What drew you to the mission of PHS, and how did you get involved with the board?

I became a Patricia Hart Society board member following a conversation with its chair, Lucibeth Mayberry. Having taught her children, she knew PHS’s mission would be one I’d enthusiastically support. As an elementary educator of twenty years, I was naturally drawn to PHS because of its focus on early childhood education and literacy. Both of these areas are dear to my heart, and I am passionate about helping inspire young children to engage with literature and ultimately become lifelong readers. The Patrica Hart Society’s partnership with Imagination Library was also a big draw for me. My own children have benefitted from the Books from Birth, and helping fundraise for such services offers a chance to impact the lives of children who might not have access to children’s literature otherwise. 

    I am passionate about helping inspire young children to engage with literature and ultimately become lifelong readers.

    You also served as the chair for the Books & Bubbly Silent Auction, which raised over $20K! Do you have any advice for members hoping to run a successful silent auction?

    This was the first time I had chaired a silent auction, and I learned a lot along the way. However, my best advice would be to surround yourself with a team willing to push themselves beyond their comfort zones as they request items, keeping your mission and goal in mind. I am not one to ask for help, and I do not typically ask for donations. But as I circled back to our mission, I was no longer afraid to ask for donations and reach out to personal and professional connections. What’s the worst they could say? “No,” and you don’t know until you ask. Additionally, consider your audience when gathering items. What will be most appealing to them? Being in Nashville, we were fortunate to have connections to many musical artists, staycation opportunities, and sporting events, which drew our largest bids. I may have been the chair; however, our success came from a team effort of both the incredible PHS Board and our United Way partners. 

    You are an associate teacher at Battle Ground Academy, a freelance author, a mother of two, and a committed volunteer. What are some tips on balancing a busy schedule and making it all work?

    Motherhood itself is a balancing act. Throw marriage, a job (or two), and volunteer work into the mix, and it can be a challenge. My tips for balancing a busy schedule are:  

    1. Maintain a family calendar in a central location and share the responsibilities, right down to attending ballgames or school functions. When one parent is in attendance and the other at home with siblings or has another commitment, you are not saying to your child that you do not care or support them; rather, you are teaching the importance of fulfilling commitments, responsibilities, and caring for your whole family and self. I don’t miss many things, but I have learned as my children get older, they appreciate my honesty when I need to tag team with my husband.

    2. Learn to say no. This took me a long time to learn. I could write a book on this one. But suffice it to say what I learned from Lysa TerKeurst a long time ago, your no provides space for someone else’s yes. Do what you are most passionate about, and be willing to step aside when someone else may better serve the need. 


    3. Do a morning brain dump. Give yourself fifteen minutes in the morning before anyone else in the house stirs, and do a brain dump. Write everything down that comes to mind. This often takes on the form of a to-do list that I can then easily prioritize. It helps me feel more accomplished at the end of the day when I see items crossed off and when I have planned ahead by marking which day I intend to complete each task. For others, the brain dump may flow more like a stream-of-consciousness journal or a prayer. Whatever it is, let the words flow and make time to be still before the busyness of the day begins. 

    Contact our PHS team to learn more about the Patricia Hart Society.