Sarah C. Thompson-Kablik '07, pictured here with husband William and son, has been an annual fund giver for the past 10 consecutive years. Here she shares why she gives to Brewster, including her belief that supporting the school is a way to practice gratitude for all those who shared so much with her during her time as a student.
When I started giving back to Brewster, I was driven by the fond memories I had as a student. As I have grown, the meaning behind this practice has deepened. Like so many parents, it is critical to me that I teach my child to appreciate and acknowledge the service of others. Just like I model value based behaviors by voting or volunteering, it is so important to me to model gratitude in giving.
Giving back to Brewster is a way I can regularly practice gratitude for the many gifts I was given as a student during my most formative years. Participating in the annual fund is saying “thank you” for the late nights Lauren Hunter was on dorm duty talking with me about my hopes, fears and dreams for the future. It’s saying “you changed my life” to Maria Found when she showed me I was never “bad at math” but simply needed to approach the problems different ways. Donating is an acknowledgment of the kindness Matthew Butcher showed when he helped me channel my first experience with death and loss into creative writing.
Attending Brewster was not just going to school; it was existing within a community of people who uplifted me as a learner and a person. The three examples above are only a piece of my story that could go on for many more pages mentioning Chris Brown, Edita Buffington, Laura Duffy, Beth Hayes, Emily James, Peter Mann, the Martin’s, Lynne Palmer, Barb Thomas and many more. There’s really no way to thank someone enough for all that I gained as a student; but regularly giving back is a good place to start.
When I left Brewster, I learned that I was capable of thriving, even away from my family and built-in support systems. The experience of being outside of my comfort zone and learning that so many people are trustworthy and kind helped to foster within me a sort of permission to take adventures. After Brewster, I studied abroad in Italy during college, after college I backpacked across Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi. For the first ten years of my career, I traveled domestically and internationally meeting people all over the globe. Central to the success I had in these endeavors was learning to self advocate and ask for help, skills I learned at Brewster. By doing this and through taking safe, calculated risks, I was able to push myself beyond where I could have ever imagined.
Is there a more beautiful way to reflect on the growth you’ve had as a person than by acknowledging who has helped you along the way? Nothing happens in a vacuum. I know I would not be the woman I am today without the community I found at Brewster Academy. I hope that other alumni support Brewster in ways that feel comfortable to themselves too and by doing so practice gratitude for those who helped them grow into who they are today.