ONE Member of the Month: Sarah Stone

Congratulations to Sarah Stone, our ONE Member of the Month for October. Sarah, a grassroots organizer for ONE in Canada, has been a ONE member for almost 10 years and is an overall superstar volunteer in her spare time. I had a chance to interview her this month and chat about her involvement with ONE, her passions and what inspires her.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am originally from Ottawa (our nation’s capital) but I currently live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada with my husband Raja who is a young adults pastor at a local church, and our three daughters Talia (17), Fiona (13), Olivia (12). In addition to having a busy family life, I am also a nurse – I work part time in the childbirth unit at a hospital and I devote most of the rest of my time to my advocacy work with ONE.

How did you get involved with ONE?
I first became aware of DATA in 2004 or 2005, and then later became involved with ONE – but I have increased my involvement considerably in the last three years or so. I am working to build our ONE membership in Canada in addition to managing the ONE Canada social media accounts and overseeing some of the ONE Campus leaders in Canada. I am also involved with policy and campaigns work and help to cultivate grass-tops relationships, host special events and engage ONE members across the country!

Sarah Stone 1 Sarah with ONE volunteers and staffers on the National Mall in July 2012 unveiling the AIDS quilt

What are ONE members in Canada like?
Canadians in general are very humanitarian in nature. It’s an integral part of our national identity. It comes from being known as “peacekeepers” and having a very philanthropic mindset. Canadian ONE members really understand the concept of global responsibility and the importance of loving and caring for their neighbors.

Sarah Stone 2 Sarah and her daughter Talia with Jon and Tim Neufeld of Canadian music group Starfield.

What is the most challenging thing about being an activist for ONE and our issues?
I think the most challenging thing is trying to get the word out about the good news globally. People have seen the stereotypical images of people living in extreme poverty and it can lead to compassion fatigue. I think people sometimes think, “What can I do?” and feel helpless. There have been so many positive strides recently – but it’s a matter of getting those stories out there for people to hear and encouraging people to continue to use their voice to bring about change.

Who inspires you?
There is a woman named Anastasia who lives in Kenya and cares for her 9 grandchildren on her own because both of her daughters passed away. She somehow maintains a positive attitude and has such a strong faith in God in spite of her reality. I hold her close to my heart and I think of her often as I advocate for our issues. To me she represents the millions of people for which we are advocating at ONE. My own three daughters also inspire me because I see the future in them and I want to play a part in shaping their view of the world and help them to realize that their voice is so important and that they can use it to help others.

What else do you do in your “spare time”?
What spare time? I love to read, travel, watch movies, and spend time with family and friends. I also volunteer with my local AIDS committee.

What is your favorite book?
28 Stories of AIDS in Africa” by Stephanie Nolen. Stephanie is a Canadian journalist at the Globe and Mail and her book shines a spotlight on the AIDS emergency. I buy the book for everyone I know – I cannot recommend it more strongly. I had the privilege to interview Stephanie last year at the International AIDS Conference in DC for the ONE Blog, and that was a real thrill.

Sarah Stone 3

Photo caption: Sarah and Jay with then Canadian Minister of International Cooperation Julian Fantino delivering the ONE nutrition petition

What has been your favorite experience with ONE?
There have been so many favorite experiences – meeting with Canadian government officials on behalf of ONE, joining with ONE members and staff to help unveil the AIDS quilt in DC in July 2012, volunteering for ONE at a U2 concert with my best friend, touring with the Christian band Starfield in 2012 with my oldest daughter Talia on behalf of ONE, and attending the ONE Power Summits. To know that you are part of something greater than yourself is really amazing and motivates me in my advocacy work. It’s an honor to be a part of ONE.

Big thank you to Sarah for all the amazing work that she does for ONE. Want to nominate someone for the next Member of the Month? Email Malaka at mgharib@one.org with the subject line, “Member of the Month.”