Two Generations, One Village

After only a few months working for The Village Family Service Center as a pregnancy and adoption social worker, Sarah Flesberg feels at home. “It’s like a big family,” Sarah says. “The staff are all supportive of each other.”

Sarah’s familial roots with The Village go deeper than her new, caring coworkers. Her grandmother, Evelyn Montgomery, spent nearly two decades volunteering at Nokomis, a child care center that’s part of The Village.

When Evelyn, now 87, heard that Sarah was applying for a job with The Village, she thought it would be an answer to her prayers.

When she heard Sarah got the job: “Praise the Lord!”

The Village had been there for Evelyn at a time when she felt like she’d lost everything.

After the death of her second husband, Evelyn “had a bad time.” She hadn’t been out of the house, or even out of bed, when a family friend encouraged her to connect with The Village. That afternoon she interviewed and, the next day, started volunteering at Nokomis.

“I loved it from the beginning and stayed there,” Evelyn says. “I had so many wonderful experiences there. I needed that. I needed to be needed.”

Evelyn rocked the babies, fed and played with them, or helped in the kitchen. The kids called her “GG,” for great-grandma. When Evelyn’s own grandchildren or great-grandchildren visited, she would bring them to Nokomis. That included Sarah.

Sarah Flesberg and her grandmother, Evelyn Montgomery, both have close ties to The Village Family Service Center. Photo by J. Shane Mercer

“I really enjoyed that,” Sarah says. “I remember the attachment that the babies and other children had to my grandma. Even as they grew up and moved to the other rooms, they would still come back and visit GG and remember her and how much they loved her.”

Evelyn’s ties to The Village go even further back, when the organization was the Children’s Village. She and her first husband occasionally provided weekend respite care to children of the orphanage. They wanted their daughters to understand what life was like for those who were less fortunate.

Now, years after Evelyn cared for orphans and for the children of Nokomis, her granddaughter is continuing The Village’s work, helping create families through her pregnancy and adoption work.

“I’m so thrilled for Sarah. I keep asking her, ‘What are you doing?’ ” Evelyn says.

Evelyn says Nokomis and The Village will always be part of her life. And now, thanks to Sarah’s new career, she has one more connection to the organization that means so much to her.

“I’m so proud,” she says.

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