A Giving Heart Patia SandiferFrom Features & Blogs
Patia Sandifer ’01 remembers her time at Schreiner as a great example of the University’s “Learning by Heart” motto. “Wonderful friends, interested faculty who knew me by name and not as a number and a great Hill Country campus all made learning heartwarming,” she said.
A native of Dallas, Sandifer was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer eight days after her 21st birthday. She enrolled in Schreiner after successful treatment, but had to go home every six months to get checked out by her doctors.
“I had to leave before Thanksgiving and just after finals,” she said. “My professors were very understanding. The fact that Schreiner is a small school helped with my special circumstances; I was a name, not just a number.”
Sandifer said she has never defined herself by the disease. She has been cancer-free since her initial treatments.
Following graduation, Sandifer went to work in human resources for The Staubach Company in Dallas, a commercial real estate firm.
“Roger Staubach, the company’s founder and legendary quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, led by example,” Sandifer said. “He modeled to all his employees leadership qualities that have shaped my own life. Roger knew all of his employees—300 in Dallas and 2,000 across the U.S. He is very down-to-earth. It was a great starter job.”
The Staubach Company was sold and Sandifer moved back to the Hill Country, where she is currently living in Boerne.
After she returned to the area, Hill County CARES hired her as volunteer marketing coordinator. HCC is a nonprofit organization providing services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault for five Hill Country counties.
“Women, children and senior citizens are our target populations in Kerr, Kendall, Gillespie, Bandera and Kimble counties,” she said. “We provide emergency shelter, advocacy, counseling, intervention and prevention in the schools through Family CARES, Kid CARES, Senior CARES and Kids Advocacy Place divisions. This job uses skills I learned at Schreiner and The Staubach Company.”
When not organizing, training and deploying volunteers, Sandifer is one herself, including a stint on the board of the Schreiner Former Students Association, where she served as secretary for two years. As a member of the San Antonio Junior League, she volunteers at least 40 hours a year at the Clarity Child Guidance Center in San Antonio, where she provides play therapy for children with emotional problems. Her team was nominated by Clarity as outstanding volunteers with the United Way of San Antonio.
“There is that moment when you choose to ground yourself and live each day with authenticity and gratitude for all those life lessons, conversations and teachable moments that have come your way,” said Sandifer. “My advice to Schreiner students is to sense a great journey has begun for them on campus, realizing that what they are to learn will always return more value to themselves than they can yet know.”