The Rapidian

Hometown Heroes 2015 Profiles: Judge Sara Smolenski

We are continuing a series of posts highlighting the awards recipients for the 2015 Hometown Heroes Celebration put on by the American Red Cross of West Michigan.
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Hometown Heroes Celebration

Thursday, April 30 from 6-10 p.m. at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids

For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, April 30 from 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.

The American Red Cross of West Michigan is proud to honor Judge Sara Smolenski with the Mabel Boardman Spirit of Volunteerism Award. Judge Smolenski has proven her commitment to her community through the many services she provides including her active volunteer efforts. Through the years, Judge Smolenski has donated her time and effort to organizations such as Hospice of Michigan, St. John’s Home for Children, the American Red Cross, YWCA, the American Cancer Society, Resources Against Violent Encounters to Women of West Michigan, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids Laughfest and many other community events.

Judge Sara Smolenski is a Grand Rapids native who has felt the call to service since the fourth grade.

 “I think what sparked that interest was I have always had a knack for wanting to be able to speak for people who could not speak for themselves,” says Smolenski. “I felt called to be an advocate of others…and that to me was being a lawyer.”

This call led Smolenski to pursue her Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1982 which led to her election to 63rd District Court Judge. This year she celebrated her 25th year at this position, which has allowed her to impact her community in so many ways.

Throughout her career in public service, Judge Smolenski has gone above what was expected of her giving back to the community that she has long been a part of. She believes that as an individual there is a responsibility to share what you have with others. This responsibility shines through in her work with mentoring programs to educate the community.

“We should take advantage of every educational opportunity we have, because there is so much to learn,” she says. “With being a judge for 24 years, I still learn every day.”

Smolenski undeniably shares the same passion for volunteerism as Mabel Boardman. The energy she brings to the table in these situations is contagious and one of the many reasons she is asked to speak on behalf of so many organizations. Her outstanding devotion to her local community and various organizations is an inspiration to others.

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