Long time Bellevue LifeSpring circle member and dedicated volunteer, Sharon Northrup, was honored in June with the 2020 Trish Carpenter Volunteer of the Year award!
The Volunteer of the Year award is presented to a volunteer who has exhibited extraordinary support of Bellevue LifeSpring, often behind the scenes and without regard for acknowledgment.
Sharon is also honored as a Bellevue LifeSpring Life Member, serving over 25 years as a circle member. She is the current co-chair of the Yarrow Point circle and has served selflessly in many capacities as a volunteer for over 30 years. Sharon joined the organization, then called the Overlake Service League, in 1986, after a neighbor reached out and invited her to attend a circle member meeting. In her words, “the rest is history!”
Sharon has held a number of leadership roles at Bellevue LifeSpring including Executive Vice President and Assistant Treasurer. Her fellow circle members describe her as the “go-to” person whenever help is needed. Sharon has also actively promoted and participated in fundraising efforts. She has also been a behind the scenes volunteer at Thrift Culture, the Bellevue LifeSpring thrift shop.
“In addition to being the circle co-chair, Sharon has been actively promoting membership of their circle and support for Bellevue LifeSpring through their annual social event and community events. She also helps in countless ways behind the scenes and always with a fabulous attitude,” shared Fairweather circle member, Maggie Vergien.
Being a circle member is something Sharon truly cherishes. “Circle membership has given me the opportunity to be part of a larger organization and allows me to give back to my community in a big way,” said Sharon. “The membership gives me a personal sense of belonging. You are part of smaller circles, but you also get the opportunity to meet other circles’ members. Bellevue LifeSpring is a unique organization that truly forms a lasting bond between its members.”
Over the years, Sharon has appreciated the diverse set of opportunities to give back that Bellevue LifeSpring has to offer. Every year, Sharon’s high point is the Holiday Adopt-A-Family™ program, which provides gifts and food for families in need during the holiday season. Sharon loves being able to see the smiles and joy that the children and families experience.
Sharon is proud of Bellevue LifeSpring’s growth over the years. In particular, she reflects on the growth of the Step Up to the Plate Benefit Luncheon. Sharon has witnessed the luncheon’s evolution firsthand. “We started the luncheon at a golf course with just 100 members in attendance. The luncheon has come a long way from the clubhouse banquet room to now a ballroom of over 700 guests. It’s been special to see it grow.”
Not only has Sharon donated countless volunteer hours to Bellevue LifeSpring, but her generosity also extends monetarily. She chooses to contribute to Bellevue LifeSpring for one main reason – our ability to adapt to the needs of our community’s most vulnerable children. “What we were doing 100 years ago or even 10 years doesn’t apply to this current situation. Knowing that my volunteer hours or monetary contributions are going towards helping the most current and pressing needs of Bellevue’s children is important to me,” said Sharon.
Outside of Bellevue LifeSpring, Sharon finds purpose in serving as the Treasurer and board member of the nonprofit Pushing Boundaries which she founded with her late husband, Allan Northrup. Pushing Boundaries is an intensive exercise therapy center that focuses on clients with paralysis, brain injury and neurological disorders. Sharon and Allan founded Pushing Boundaries after a car accident where Allan sustained a spinal cord injury. After the accident, they had trouble accessing the proper level of therapy and resources that Allan needed. After nearly two years of traveling in search of these resources, they decided to create an organization that could provide comprehensive services here in the Northwest for others in the same situation.
When she’s not volunteering, Sharon likes to garden, read and spend time with her five children, 11 grandkids and four great-grandchildren! “I’m very fortunate that I have a supportive family and lots of love around me,” shared Sharon.
Everyone at Bellevue LifeSpring feels fortunate to have a circle member like Sharon involved in our mission. Sharon’s positivity and commitment to Bellevue kids is one reason Bellevue LifeSpring is the organization we are today and that’s why she’s our Volunteer of the Year!
“When there is a crisis, like the current pandemic, it either brings people together or causes division. I’m of the mindset that you help others. These are times when we individuals are called upon to help serve others,” said Sharon. “Being part of a community is like being part of a family and we take care of our family. One of the best ways I know of to do this is to be there for others and to help the most vulnerable children here in Bellevue. I know, in return, others will be there for me. My high school motto was, give the best that you have to the world and the best will come back to you.”
Congratulations to Sharon and our impressive list of 2020 nominees:
Randi Brazen, One Circle Member
Pearl Grantham, Clemmie Evans Circle Member
Jean Haehl, Hunts Point Circle Member
Marilyn Herzberg, Hunts Point Circle Member
Marcia Holland, Fairweather Circle Member
Balwinder Kaur, One Circle Member
Hisayo Nakajima, Fairweather Circle Member
Pat Patt, Enatai Circle Member
Anita Wyman, Thrift Culture Banking Chair