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Sarah Yates

Class Year: 2016

Scholarship: Social Change Fellowship

State: WA

Position: Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Alongside

Focus Area

Positive social change

Sarah Yates

Class Year: 2016

Scholarship: Social Change Fellowship

State: WA

Position: Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Alongside

Focus Area

Positive social change

Biography

I am Sarah, mother of two amazing daughters and husband to a WA Police Detective. A school psychologist by trade, my life was turned upside down when my husband was diagnosed with workplace related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2008. Our marriage has been defined by his illness and the challenges that are associated with loving someone with a disease that changes every part of who they are.

 

Recovery is a long way off for us, and these last 8 years have seen me struggle to continue to support him in the face of what are often insurmountable obstacles. I realised that to honour the vow I made on my wedding day (to love in sickness and in health) I needed a network of support, understanding and education - imagine my surprise when I realised none existed, anywhere in Australia. In desperation I reached out on ABC radio for other people like me, and the floodgates opened. Hundreds of people contacted me after my interview wanting to reach out, to connect, to find solace.

 

And so, Alongside was born. 8 months later, I'm the CEO of a not-for-profit that operates across four states running proactive education, PTSD support and a strong sense of community for partners and families of Australia's frontline personnel across Defence and Emergency Services.

 

I've been blown away by the need out there. I used to think my family was the only one going through this, but it turns out there are hundreds. It makes me sad and humble and frustrated all at the same time. Using our hell on earth journey to bring about change for families exactly like ours has done a lot to make me feel like there was a reason our lives got thrown into chaos. I still can't quite believe this is where I've ended up! On a personal level, I love gardening, the beach, camping, spending time with friends and family and generally being outside. There's something about the sunshine and the earth that never fails to make me smile.

Skills & Expertise

  • Psychological skills
  • Needs assessment/program development
  • Program facilitation skills
  • Strategic planning, growth and change frameworks
  • Engaging and communicating with people

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