A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Sarah Arnold

A Valpo Life in the Spotlight: Sarah Arnold

Homegrown all-star Sarah Arnold has been in Valparaiso almost all her life. It’s where she was born and raised and attended high school. After that, she went off to Indiana University Bloomington for both her undergraduate and law school educations.   Years later, however, volunteering captured her heart, so she dove into a new career around the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. She now serves as a volunteer supervisor with Porter County CASA, an organization that trains community volunteers to advocate in court for the best interests of children who are victims of abuse and neglect.

Arnold was a practicing attorney in Bloomington before she moved back to Valparaiso. Her husband, with whom she went to high school, is a dentist and was then working as an associate at a dental practice in Chesterton. The two were married around then and had meaningful conversations about their future together until they finally decided to fully enter the world of dentistry as a united force. What followed was the establishment of three separate practices they both ran and operated. All have since been sold off within the past 10 years, compelling Arnold to head into the role she holds today.

Arnold’s grandparents have always been influential figures in her life. When they were in their 50s, both of them attended college for the first time to become teachers. As a little girl, she would go with them to prepare their classrooms. After they retired, she noticed their eagerness to remain involved through volunteer work and their desire to continue to give back to their community. They would collaborate with their church and various tutoring groups in town. Seeing their selflessness inspired Arnold.  

“The whole push to volunteer was because of my grandparents. Their volunteering is what drove me to CASA. The notion of giving back to society by working to help the less fortunate changed me forever, and I’m grateful to them,” she said.

At CASA, Arnold supervises 13 volunteers, all of whom are assigned cases involving children whose parents are in need of rehabilitative services, and who themselves need a voice in court to advocate for their own needs. On a daily basis, she sees the struggles of fractured families, and the frustration of ensuring they receive and comply with the right court ordered services, but even out of those challenges come rewards.  

“It's so rewarding to simply meet with, kindly greet, and get to know children in order to help them. Sometimes, the cases I come across have wonderful outcomes even though they often begin with horrible circumstances. I've seen a family reunited, I've seen parents work diligently to improve themselves in their lives to be the parents they need to be for their children, and those are the high points for sure,” she said.

Due to the way she embodies compassion, Arnold was awarded the “Spirit of Rose” distinction this past May. The award comes after all her tremendous dedication to giving what she can to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children whose families are involved in court. By no means does she view herself as capable of standing apart from her loving co-workers, though, humility continually remaining one component of her soul.

“Every CASA volunteer deserves an award because they take time out of their everyday lives to devote themselves to kids and families, trying to make a difference,” she said.

A mother to two boys and two girls, three of whom are now in college, Arnold is busy outside of her vocation, too. Her focus has always been on raising her children to become sincere human beings. She’s always been a woman whose priorities are straight. They’ve always been set on the love she has for her family.

“My priority, first and foremost, is my family. That's why my husband and I did the dental adventure together; it allowed us to place family front and center. When the needs of my children are the greatest, that's when I am home, attending to their needs,” she said.

When the kids return from school, Arnold takes pleasure in cooking meals for them. She’s an avid reader, a sports-watcher, and, for a stretch of time, she was a recreational triathlete, having qualified for and competed in both the Half-Ironman  World Championship in Clearwater, Florida and the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. She also enjoys spending time with her three dogs and likes to travel, Nashville, Tennessee, and Richmond, Virginia, being some of her favorite spots.

“Valpo has changed a lot over the years. It's a wonderful place to grow up in and raise a family, since it's very family-friendly. It's a great place to be a kid and to raise a child. I love all of the new restaurants downtown, as well, and the revitalizations that always appear to be going on,” she said.

No city quite compares to Valparaiso for Arnold. It’s been her home forever, and being present there remains an essential ingredient to her happiness.