Sarah Feldman originally thought she was going to become a special education teacher when she graduated from college.
While her interest in assisting individuals with special needs never changed, her career path did.
"I studied special education at Illinois State University," she said. "During the summer between my junior and senior year of college I worked at an Easter Seals summer camp and that just opened my eyes to a whole different world I didn't even know."
During her student teaching she accepted a position working in respite care with Trinity Services in Illinois and worked with individuals with intellectual disabilities. That grew into working with a day program, camp program and, eventually, an after-school program, before she accepted a position as a qualified developmental disability professional with the same organization.
"It was a lot of the same work as a case manager," she said. "My husband accepted a call to be pastor at First Congregational Church Oct. 1. That's what brought our family to Fort Dodge."
Feldman became the newest addition to the Webster County Community Services case management staff when she began her new position as case manager Nov. 26.
As a case manager, Feldman will be working with a caseload of individuals and their families served by Webster County Community Services. She helps them get the care and programs that best fit their specific needs.
"I will be working with a caseload of people with intellectual disabilities," said Feldman. "That is similar to my former job, but here I will get to be more of an advocate, which I am pretty excited about. Everyone needs to have a voice."
There is a wide variety of needs and cases handled through Webster County Community Services, Feldman said.
"We work with mental disabilities, mental illness, brain injuries, children and adults. There's a wide age range we work with," she said.
One of Feldman's primary responsibilities will be to find respite care providers for her clients.
"I'll work with different agencies to find the best services for the individuals we serve," she said.
Feldman said she is looking forward to furthering her career in Webster County.
"I like the small-town feel of it," she said. "There are also lots of opportunities for professional development here. I'm still getting to know everyone and am getting familiar with my role, but I hope I can provide the support these individuals and their families need. I'm here to continue to do what I feel my life's mission is, and that is to make sure people can live as full and abundant lives as possible, and support their needs."