Sarah Lester is a leader in the City of Wilmington, working to revitalize the West Side through empowering its residents and businesses. As the Director of Cornerstone West Community Development Corporation, she is responsible for overseeing the organization’s housing and community economic development programs. Being truly dedicated to her work, Sarah is also a resident of the Cool Springs neighborhood, insisting she must live in the community she is helping to strengthen. Sarah says WFS played a critical role in her career, teaching her to explore challenges in our society, and as she said, “...made me believe that I had the ability to influence change and to make a difference.”
After graduating from WFS, Sarah matriculated to Brown University and earned an A.B. in International Relations with a focus on the Global Environment. She remained in Rhode Island for several years, exploring the local agricultural economy and learning about the inequities in our food system. Sarah later returned to the Mid-Atlantic region to earn her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. She joined Cornerstone West after graduate school, and has since led several impactful projects in the City of Wilmington, including the re-striping of Union Street. Through Sarah’s efforts, Union Street has increased parking, added a bike lane, and changed the traffic pattern to two lanes, instead of three. These changes have positively affected residents, pedestrians, bikers, and businesses in the area, all of whom had a say in the process thanks to Sarah’s work.
Sarah’s desire to improve her community was fostered at WFS. She reflected on her education and remembers the School encouraging her to think critically about the problems facing our community, and giving her the confidence to take action. Sarah believes WFS played a huge role in who she is today, and enjoys giving back to the School to help express her gratitude. She once served on the WFS Alumni Board and also spoke on last year’s Homecoming Alumni Panel. She’s impressed the School’s Quaker values have remained at its core and hopes WFS will continue to cultivate “intelligent, caring, innovative, and progressive young thinkers who are willing to and choose to invest their skills and ideas into the City of Wilmington in the future.”