“Change Makers” highlights the people of Prince William who are making a difference in our community. This month, we feature Sabrina Ricks.
Sabrina Ricks is a true example of the warmth and spirit of Prince William. Her fondness for the scenic area itself is surpassed only by the love she holds for her community, and when she’s not soaking in the sights and sounds, you can find her fighting on the fronts against workplace abuse and childhood hunger.
How long have you lived in the Prince William area, and what do you most like about living here?
I moved to Prince William during the winter of 2009. After growing up in southern Virginia and living in Florida for a few years, I welcomed the chance to experience four seasons again once I moved to Northern Virginia. Prince William is conveniently nestled between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, two popular and busy cities; however, there is a feel of suburbia that makes it warm, cozy and comfortable. The pace is swift but not so fast that I feel overwhelmed.
Additionally, the local parks and lakes provide a rural feel that is fun to explore in the spring and autumn months when the weather is just right.
What are some of your favorite things to do in the area and why?
I greatly enjoy spending time in Old Town Occoquan and Stonebridge. Old Town Occoquan makes me feel like I’ve stepped into a history book, and the warmth of the local shops and restaurants provides a welcoming like no other. Stonebridge is a newer shopping plaza that offers a more modern feel and features restaurants, places to shop, a movie theater, grocery store and more.
How have you been involved in the community?
I began my volunteer journey with the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department in 2011. When I chose this journey, I was at a place in my life where I was seeking a way to show others that I care and that I have a heart filled with love for people — all people. I started as an ambulance driver and emergency medical technician. After having a medical issue of my own, I did not want to quit, so I simply transitioned from an operational to an administrative member. I began volunteering as an instructor for the course for eight years. I also have taught the critical incident and stress management course.
Finally, I helped design and teach the harassment, bullying and hazing prevention course. I serve on the new members committee and have also been the department election officer for four terms. In 2018, I was offered the opportunity to attend the International Fire Chief Association Fire and Rescue International Conference. As a result of this experience, I was recruited to join the national workplace bullying and violence task force, and still as a volunteer, I have worked diligently to help alleviate workplace bullying and
violence in the fire service and beyond. This work allowed me the great honor of being recognized by Chief Jim McAllister in the 2019 Chief’s Award for service to OWL VFD.
Also, when COVID-19 appeared in the United States early this year and began to impact Prince William, I wanted to assist in any way that I could. Many children have been impacted by food insecurity by not being in school, and I wanted to help. I began volunteering with Prince William County Community Foundation in March under the leadership of Dr. Vanessa Gattis. We go to 22 different schools in Prince William to distribute food. I have assisted PWCCF in providing more than 24,000 meals to over 3,400 families across the area. In January2020, I joined PWCCF’s board of directors and was elected as the company secretary. In June 2020, I became the executive director of the organization.
The opportunity to volunteer for two organizations that are so significant in Prince William and serve the community in such a supportive way is something I am honored to do, and I look forward to continuing my work for these organizations as well as for the community.
If you had to give advice to someone new to the area, what would you tell them and why?
My advice to any newcomers to Prince William is first to explore, enjoy the scenery and find a few places you like to visit to eat and shop. This is the quickest way to get familiar with the roadways and start to feel the warm and welcoming feeling of dealing with the public, especially at some of the family-owned restaurants in Old Town Occoquan. Secondly, I highly encourage you to get to know those in the community on a local government level. It would be a good idea to attend a local Board of County Supervisor’s meeting and introduce yourself and your family. Finally, I suggest you get involved by
finding an organization to volunteer with in order to serve, care for, and spread love and joy throughout the community.
How would you describe yourself in a few sentences?
Sabrina Ricks has lived in Virginia most of her life and her love for family, the community and adventure is evident once you spend any time with her. She earned her doctorate in 2015, which led to her becoming the president of SBR Workplace Consultation Services and an adjunct professor in the business and student development departments of Northern Virginia Community College. Finally, she is a wife and a stepmother to three young adults