By Clonlara School
In an original song titled What’s Your Name, Sari Brown ’06 shares a message of hope and reminds us that we always have a choice in the ways we respond to external events. Especially during trying times, we can choose to focus on our strengths and passions—the things that energize us—instead of trying to be something we are not.
Clonlara graduate Sari Brown admits she is still learning how to best live out her purpose and follow her passions. During her high school years in Clonlara’s Home-Based Education Program (now the Off-Campus Program), Sari focused on creating music, counting what she learned about sound engineering as a science credit, and recorded her first professional studio album when she was 16! “I love that Clonlara gave me the flexibility to start a music career, research sustainable agriculture, work at a neuropsychology practice, and so much more,” she writes.
After graduation in 2006, Sari studied anthropology and religion at Marlboro College in Vermont, taught English in Peru, and conducted anthropological research in Bolivia in connection with the Bolivian Methodist Church. She next chose to pursue her Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University and again spent time in South America, completing an internship in Colombia and studying in Brazil. Eventually, Sari came back to Michigan to become a pastor in the United Methodist Church where her work in the churches of Harbor Beach and Port Hope on the coast of Lake Huron has allowed her get involved with Hispanic dairy farm workers in the region.
Through it all, Sari has continued to refine, expand, and explore her own personal sense of purpose for her life. “Even now I am sensing a need to shift my energy and to take some risks in how I live out my purpose,” she says. “I’ve realized that it’s time to return to my music as my primary tool of creating the kind of healing spaces of spiritual growth that I think our world needs.” She describes her personal growth as a “long winding journey.”
Sari’s advice to Clonlara students: “First, you should follow your passions. Don’t worry if it takes a while to figure out the best way to do that. I’m still figuring out how to be true to my life purpose, but the journey has been beautiful. Second, seek collaboration and mentorship. If I could change one thing about my time at Clonlara, I would’ve developed even more relationships with adults and other youth who were doing the things I wanted to be doing. Together, we are stronger. If you think that I can be one of those mentors to you, I would love to hear from you!”
Plans are currently in the works for Sari’s next studio album, which she is funding through a Kickstarter campaign that runs through December 16. To learn more and offer your support, visit Sari’s website.
How has Clonlara prepared you or your student to keep exploring and growing a sense of purpose throughout life? Tell us in the comments below.