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Norwood appreciates the mission of DHSPosted Date: 03/22/2018
By: Sara Norwood
When reflecting on my life, I can’t help but smile. I want to help others experience the same kind of happiness. That’s why I enjoy being a member of the Department of Human Services (DHS) staff.
My name is Sara Norwood. I’m a Program Manager for the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE). My job focuses on supporting every unit in the division and our director, Tonya Williams. Our division interacts with and supports children, their families, child care providers, and organizations who work with children. Everything we do is a big deal and nothing can be overlooked. That’s why I have such a wide variety of job duties. But through prioritizing, good planning, having the proper perspective, and being able to quickly adapt and adjust, I’m able to handle the job.
My passion for protecting children also helps me complete my responsibilities. I’m emotionally attached to the mission of our division. The goal of DCCECE is to ensure that all Arkansas children and families have access to a safe, high-quality, developmentally appropriate, nurturing, learning environment by educating and assisting parents, child care providers, and communities to prepare our children for future success. As a mother, that’s something I hold in high regard.
My husband and I are proud parents of two boys. A 10-year-old who lives with his mom in Fort Smith and a six-year-old who lives in the household and was once in Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy due to developmental delays. He was almost completely non-verbal up until the age of three. Now he talks more than we could’ve ever imagined and we love every bit of our son’s chatter.
In fact, he tested out of speech therapy last month. We as a family are so proud of him. Also, we’re extremely appreciative of every speech therapist who worked with him.
My husband and I make a decent living, but we don’t have enough to cover the cost of all our son’s therapy sessions. Thankfully, our family qualifies for TEFRA – which is a DHS program. TEFRA gives families with children who have disabilities medical assistance and allows the parents to pay on a sliding fee scale, which makes the costs more manageable.
DHS has helped my family so much, I rave to others about what the agency can also do for them. In fact, I have a cousin whose son has a developmental disability. She moved from Tennessee to Arkansas because I constantly praised the outstanding health care options this state has for youth with special needs.
It makes me so happy that my cousin’s son now has the help he needs.
I love helping people. I admire organizations that aim to improve the livelihood of people in need. I simply want to see everyone happy and with a chance to succeed in life. I’ve had that characteristic for as long as I can remember.
I’m an optimistic person who’s heavily influenced by a close family structure. For most of my childhood, I lived in Bartlett, Tennessee, a town located north of Memphis. I have great memories of my time in Tennessee, most of which involve my family. We were always around one another, including grandparents and cousins. But in 2000, in the middle of my teenage years, my family moved to Arkansas. I was in a new setting, but I adapted. I graduated from Sylvan Hills High School in 2002.
As for college, I am an alumna of the University of Arkansas, Walton College of Business. I graduated in 2006. While at Arkansas, I was fortunate to be a part of the Lady Razorback cheerleading squad. I sing Rocky Top – “Go Vols” and I Call the Hogs – “Woo Pig.” Positive vibes only, a person can do both.
Overall, my life is great, and I’m blessed. It’s only appropriate that I help others, both personally and professionally. It’s important to me that I try to give people a reason to experience joy and excitement in life.