Sarah MacIsaac, a beloved member of our PYD community, has left us too soon on March 8th, 2020. Sarah continuously went throughout life with this mindset to motivate her: “spread acts of kindness.”
PYD was honored to have Sarah as a youth participant in many of our programs: Mentoring, Youth in Preparation for Independence, Access to Theatre, Peer Leadership Program, Youth Leadership Forum, and beyond. Sarah grew through PYD programs as a youth, teen, and college student in the late 1990s up until today. She was an inspiration to all staff, peers, and the community.
PYD nominated Sarah for an award from America’s Promise – a fellow nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people. Our application detailed her in-depth service to others. She was then selected as an honoree, specifically for her service to those with disabilities. This opened up the opportunity for her to join other national honorees at a high ranking event attended by some of the highest level political and military officials in Washington D.C. As expected, she brought along her kind, soft, yet powerful voice when she spoke as one of the incredible youth honored throughout the nation.
Sarah was the light at every PYD event she attended, encouraging others to engage by helping peers and younger youth find their own voice, all while spreading kindness and celebrating every one of them. I recall with gratitude a particular summer when Sarah was a peer leader and artist for our Access to Theatre program. At the end of the event, there was a dance that the audience participated in. She approached me and invited me to join her on the dance floor. I did not hesitate at my good fortune to dance with Sarah.
After her completion of college, Sarah talked with me about employment and her search for a job. She worked hard to find employment. This was a challenge for her, as she joined the faces of many youth in transition years, curious and concerned to find a job after college.
The challenge can be more difficult for youth with disabilities, but nevertheless Sarah persisted. She decided to take her high level work energy and creative self to higher realms by designing and owning her own business. She began to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams by opening up Tastefully Simple, which you can read more about here. Her creativity brought enthusiasm, empowerment, and tremendous fun as she became a devoted “foodie.” She showcased her creativity through live stream cooking lessons and tips on her Tastefully Simple food page. She was interviewed by PYD alum Ray Grandoit on his podcast featuring entrepreneurs and business owners that are disabled.
Here you can listen to Sarah’s interview feature.
I enjoyed seeing Sarah at The Christopher Dunne Foundation holiday event this past December, where she showcased her Tastefully Simple enterprise. She was filled with joy to see me attend, and was so enthusiastic while presenting her entrepreneurial design.
Sarah loved to work and be engaged by manifesting joy to others through her business. When we first spoke about her employment long ago, she was so very diligent to find that path, and she did just that. She also made a point of continuing to engage in her love of community and broad range of interests, especially the arts.
Sarah was also a mentor to youth and peers with disabilities, and a young mentor to me and other staff within PYD that have known her for over 20 years. Her bright light and love for others will stay with us and continue to mentor us through her memory even though she is gone.
Her parents have requested that in her memory, we spread acts of kindness. May her mentoring and depth of care for others be what we as a community emulate.
Sarah’s services will take place on Friday, March 13, 2020 from 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at Cuffe-McGinn Funeral Home in Lynn, MA. The mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 14, 2020 at St. Pius V Church in Lynn, MA.
You can read her obituary here.