Building Bridges for Service
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Sabrena Thomas grew up knowing the importance of giving back to the community. Her parents set the perfect example for Sabrena and her three siblings by donating their time to families and organizations in need. This foundation of service inspired Sabrena to become a public servant with the Federal Government where she’s served for over 30 years. It was this very strong commitment to service that led Sabrena to join Classy Living Society, an organization that she firmly believes encourages volunteering, sisterhood, self care and continuous growth.
Because of the significant amount of volunteer service hours Sabrena clocked in 2019, she was named Volunteer of the Year by Classy Living Society at its 2019 Red Dress Gala. “Winning the Volunteer of the Year award has been amazing,” Sabrena says of this huge honor. “I’m proud to be honored for something I’m so passionate about.”
Sabrena believes a successful volunteer needs to be educated on the initiative, be willing to engage with others, be prompt and ready to serve and be laser focused on having a positive attitude. When asked whether one or more volunteer efforts touched her the most, Sabrena says it was the opportunity to provide brunch for the families of the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House that filled a special place in her heart. Sabrena has a personal bond with RMH as she and one of her children were once recipients of this worthwhile organization that provides a temporary residence for families caring for a sick child during the child’s medical care. Giving back to an organization that gave so much to her family was the highlight of a lifetime for her.
On a personal level, Sabrena loves spending time with her family and friends, traveling and trying unique restaurants that serve delicious food. Yes, you could say she’s on the verge of being a real foodie! Her future plans include retirement, becoming a business owner, traveling more and definitely enlarging her territory. Personal philosophies are extremely important to Sabrena and hers is “always believe something amazing is about to happen”. She’s also strong in her belief that everyone has their own purpose for being here and in the pursuit of her own purpose, she finds direction in the book she is currently reading: The Big Stretch by Teneshia Jackson Warner.
Sabrena knows that her steps are ordered and she strives to keep herself aligned spiritually; so prayer and meditation are part of her daily routine. Through prayer, Sabrena is able to discern the visions for her life and with that she plans accordingly. She firmly believes that meditation is instrumental in creating a positive vibe for her day and that’s why it’s part of her regimen for self care. One of Sabrena’s favorite quotes is one by Carmen Rivera, “Never underestimate a woman with a prayer and a plan”.
We wanted to learn more about Sabrena and get her take on a number of topics. Here’s what we found out:
You’re one of approximately 63 million Americans that volunteer their time, talents and energy to the cause of making a difference in their communities. What have you learned since you’ve been volunteering with CLS?
Since being a member of CLS, I’ve learned that promptness is important. Arriving to a volunteer effort that you’ve committed to on time says “I’m here and ready to serve.” This is a sign of commitment and this giant word holds a tremendous amount of responsibility. To be able to say “I’m prompt, committed and responsible” is really big for me.
Everyone’s talking about how important it is to have some sort of balance in our lives. How do you find a work – life balance in yours?
Yes, it is important to have balance in our lives but finding balance is a different story for me. I’m still a work-in-progress. My commute for work can take up to 2 to 3 hours in the morning and 1 ½ hours in the evening; if you include working 10- to 12-hour days, it’s difficult. I try to concentrate on me on the weekends. I volunteer with CLS and try to squeeze in an excursion/getaway if I can. I definitely try to get some “relax, relate and release” time, as the saying goes, but it’s rarely for an entire day or for an entire weekend.
What three words would you use to describe Classy Living Society?
INSPIRING-CLS inspires me because of its vision to “transform lives one community at a time.” POWERFUL-CLS is creating a powerful impact in our society on a national level. IMPACT-When I think of the impact CLS has on society, it blows my mind and this is what makes me excited to volunteer.
You’ve been a member of CLS for several years now. What originally led you to join the organization?
I was speaking with a friend that I’ve known for over 15 years who also happens to be my hairstylist. We were discussing life as women and she mentioned CLS to me and said I should take a look. I researched and started following CLS on social media. I saw a group of diverse women doing so many of the things I enjoy and got excited that there was an organization that incorporated a lot of things I can relate to. I felt I found the answer to my need to give back and the bonus was that I could do it with like-minded women in a positive environment while having fun. I didn’t join right away because I wanted to make sure I was ready to commit but once I joined, my experience with CLS has been nothing short of amazing.
Having a vision board is pretty much on everyone’s priority list. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Vision boards are not on my list of things to do. Spiritually speaking, I know my steps are ordered and I strive to align myself with that. I pray to determine what is for me, so that’s how I realize my vision for my life. What’s strange though is that I’m instinctively a planner at heart!
People are full of surprises! Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us and what are three words that best describe you?
Some may find it surprising that I like hiking, biking and all sorts of adventurous activities. I’d say I’m observant, calm and creative.
Classy Volunteers read! What is the best book you’ve ever read?
The best book I’ve ever read is Getting to Happy by Terry McMillan.
We all have our favorite things we like to do. What are some of yours?
I have several favorite things to do. At the top of my list is shopping for finds for home decorating. My home environment constantly changes. I get bored easily!
Tell us one thing you just simply can’t live without.
I just can’t live without my family!
What does a typical day in the life of Sabrena Thomas look like?
My typical day starts at 4 a.m. I begin with prayer and meditation. Then I decide what I’m going to wear, according to my mood. I shower, pack my lunch, say goodbye to hubby and head out the door. I try to get a 30 minute walk in after work and before the journey home. After all of that…it’s WIND DOWN time! Time to spend time with hubby, reflect on the day, get some sister talk in… PRAY and repeat!
Being in the presence of Classy Living Society’s 2019 Volunteer of the Year, it’s easy to get caught up in her passion for volunteering. Sabrena looks forward to inspiring others to make a powerful and lasting impact on our society by continuing to heed the call to change and by building bridges in our communities for service.