Sara Diana Faraj, a dedicated volunteer from Hervey Bay, has been making a significant impact in the community through her involvement with Zonta Hervey Bay and Fraser Coast Young Professionals (FCYP). Her passion for creating positive change, especially in the lives of women and young people, has fueled her four-year journey as a volunteer.

Sara’s decision to join Zonta stems from a deeply personal connection to the organisation’s mission. Coming from the Middle East, she witnessed firsthand the struggles faced by women in her family. Sara shares, “I have cousins as young as 14 who are married with a child. I volunteer for Zonta to change the lives of women in need both in our local community and worldwide.” Her commitment to Zonta reflects her gratitude for the opportunities her parents provided by moving to Australia and her desire to empower women facing adversity.

In 2022, Sara took on the challenge of reinvigorating FCYP after recognising the issues driving young people away from the community. Through research, she discovered that many graduates were leaving due to a lack of support, limited education options, and scarcity of career opportunities. FCYP now stands as a beacon of support, providing networking, workshops, and showcasing available opportunities in the Fraser Coast.

One memorable experience that stands out for Sara is receiving notifications about the impact of Zonta’s birthing kits in third-world countries. The connection to her father’s birth in Kurdistan, Iraq, under challenging circumstances adds a personal layer to the profound impact of the kits. Sara expresses, “My dad is lucky to have survived.”

Volunteering has not only shaped Sara’s perspective but has also left an indelible mark on the lives of those she has touched. She shares, “Having friends and other young people thank me for pulling them out of their comfort zones by encouraging them to attend and having some as guest speakers or panellists.”

Throughout her volunteering journey, Sara has encountered numerous impactful individuals, and one person who has made a lasting impression on her is Robin Rayner. As a mentor and friend, Robin’s consistent support and advocacy have been invaluable during Sara’s tenure as the President of Zonta.

When asked about advice for potential volunteers, Sara emphatically encourages them to “DO IT” and approach volunteering with an open mind and heart. She emphasises the importance of saying yes to opportunities and recognising volunteers as the backbone of communities.

Describing her volunteer journey in one word or phrase, Sara chooses “Lifechanging.” Volunteering has not only changed her life but has also opened doors, both personally and professionally.